Tourist boards and PR agencies are handed millions of dollars every year to promote various destinations, hotels and airlines. Many of the promotions are brilliant Tourism Queensland's Best Job in the World idea being a classic example. But sometimes, the marketing minds get it seriously wrong. We've picked out a few of the most dreadful, ill thought-out PR campaigns from around the world.
Promo for where? Denmark
A spectacularly ill-judged viral campaign was launched this year by Visit Denmark
, which decided to get down with the kids and post a video on YouTube. The video featured "Karen" and her baby, August. But no Daddy.
According to the video, "Karen" was a Danish girl who had met a tourist in Copenhagen and showed him some good old-fashioned Danish hospitality. She couldn't remember the lucky chap's name, but it seems as though the romantic entanglement left her with little August.
The story goes that she was trying to find the father of her child.
It was quickly discovered that the video was a hoax, "Karen" was an actress, and that Visit Denmark had paid for the whole thing.
Naturally, many Danes didn't see this as an entirely appropriate way of promoting their country, and the video was swiftly removed. Portraying a nation's ladyfolk as easy, one-night-stand junkies with little regard for contraception is probably not going to attract the right kind of tourist.
Click off to watch it below:
Adultery on a boat
Promo for where? Lake Balaton, Hungary
Another variation on the "sex sells" theme came from Hungary, which tried to spice up the reputation of Lake Balaton with a cartoon.
However, it wasn't the sort of cartoon that many of the resort owners around family-friendly Balaton may have had in mind. The short film featured a man going away for a few days with his nubile young mistress, plenty of graphic nudity and a climax in which the pair went at it, hammer and tongs, on a boat.
The campaign got plenty of coverage overseas, but conservative, Catholic Hungarians were aghast. Politicians decried the advert for encouraging sex tourism, while hotel owners and tourism operators on Balaton were worried that the campaign would start attracting hordes of bucks parties to the lake.
Click off to watch it below (warning: NSFW):
The beach photo
Promo for where? Costa Brava, Spain
The Costa Brava has long since been a popular destination for northern European package tourists, but the Costa Brava-Girona tourism board decided it wanted to promote a more remote side of the beachy strip.
So they plucked out a lovely photo from a picture agency, digitally manipulated it so that it looked as good as it could and then put it alongside the slogan: "Where does the Costa Brava start?"
And the answer, it would seem, is the Bahamas. The photo they had chosen was of a beach 12,000km away from one of the Costa Brava's actual beaches.
After she was rumbled, the director of the tourist board admitted that they couldn't find any pictures of the Costa Brava's beaches were of "sufficient quality".
Not content with this act of blatant shammery, a few weeks later, the tourist board was caught doing exactly the same thing with a photo of a beach that was actually in Perth.
Here's the Bahamas shot used. Click it to see what Costa Brava really looks like:
'Just like Malta'
Promo for where? Portsmouth, England
In a spectacularly lazy piece of advertising, Southern Railways
in the UK got a little bit excited about some of the places its trains go to.
So Brighton in East Sussex became "the new Barcelona" and Chichester in West Sussex was absurdly dubbed "the new Copenhagen".
Worst of all was dubbing Portsmouth, the south-coast naval city with a not entirely unjustified reputation as a bit of a dump, as "Malta".
Malta, on the other hand, is a warm, beautiful, history-packed island in the Mediterranean.
Southern Railways tried to justify the comparison, saying: "Like Malta, it has a long naval history and beautiful coastlines, with green open spaces."
But most customers laughed, and preferred London mayor Boris Johnson's take on the city. He called it "a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs".
'Where the bloody hell are you?'
Promo for where? Australia
Let's not forget our own contribution to the bad tourism marketing Hall of Shame. It launched the career of Lara Bingle and 101 spoofs, but did the "Where the bloody hell are you?"
campaign do Australia any good?
About $180 million was spent on the push, but with no discernable increase in visitor numbers. It didn't help that the advert was banned left, right and centre.
In the UK, the ad was stripped from billboards after complaints, and could only be shown on TV after 9pm due to the swearing.
In Asia, the punchline had to be hastily rewritten as "So where are you?" to avoid it getting the chop, while the Canadians took issue with putting half a glass of unbranded beer on display.
In short, the campaign generated lots of publicity, but not the kind that our nation necessarily wanted.
Got any other favourites to name and shame?
RELATED: Best send-up travel videos