The Israel Tourism Ministry in London has spoken exclusively to OutOfOffice.com about its controversial advertising campaign for Tel Aviv Pride which asked people to “Imagine London without gays…”
The campaign which was released earlier this week caused a stir online but it has since transpired it was an advert for the LGBT festival in Israel which starts in May with subsequent adverts highlighting the reason London might be devoid of gay people was because all of them were set to visit Tel Aviv Pride.
Speaking exclusively to OutOfOffice.com, Naama Oryan-Kaplan, the director of the UK and Ireland for the Israel Government Tourist Office, said:
“The reaction to our campaign has been priceless and something that we had hoped for. Initially, social media was buzzing with disgust and bafflement at the teaser billboards plastered across London – and it is easy to see why; our messaging was controversial and lacked information.
“The messaging was simple, we wanted to showcase that life without the LGBTQ community is empty and dull, and that the community brings fun, colour and a certain vibrancy that really makes a city come to life; something that happens in Tel Aviv year round, but particularly during our annual Pride Festival.
“We wanted to raise awareness of Israel and Tel Aviv as an LGBTQ friendly destination, as well as bolster the profile of Tel Aviv’s annual Pride Festival, which is the largest in the Middle East.”
The billboards were shown in multiple countries around the world and privately some have questioned the clarity of the message it was intended to communicate.
The founder of OutOfOffice.com, Darren Burn, said: “The Tel Aviv Pride campaign was certainly a bold move and created a lot of discussion. Tel Aviv is an LGBT friendly city and one which has both a great mixture of culture, beaches and a party scene. The campaign certainly offended some and the admission from the Tourism Ministry that the campaign lacked information would probably lead to a rethink in their messaging in the future”.