This summer I went to France for holidays, doing a little road trip with some friends. Half way through our vacation we came in a very touristic place called Vallon Pont d’Arc, famous for its caves. I can tell you that when a city is famous for something, I want to see that something, so we went to the touristic information office and got a list of caves to visit in the neighborhood. One cave caught my eye, because it had a multimedia tour, so (of course) I was immediately interested and curious what that would be like. Did they manage to find a way to make a cave visit a greater experience by adding different kinds of media? I wanted to check that out!! The folder said that is was a three star cave.. I didn’t know they gave stars to caves, but is must be good then, you would think..
When buying the ticket we got a headphone to give us a tour through the cave in our own language. There were numbers in the cave which belong to parts of the voice guide, so you would get an explanation about that part of the cave. So far so good. Not special, but ok. The cave was small and the way in was the same as the way out, which was very chaotic because there were about five tours through the cave at the same time. Not very good structured I might say. At the deepest part of the cave we would get an exciting and amazing light en hearing show, the guide said. All very promising…
The cave was ones discovered by a shepherd who lost one of his sheep, so they thought it would be nice to project this story on one of the walls of the cave. So in the deepest part of the cave the lights went out, and there it all happened. You saw something that looked like a sheep projected on the cave, making a lot of noise. Some lightning and thunder, and the shepherd looking for his sheep. So far so good, not very original, but ok. And then all hell brake loose. They played the song ‘Carmina Burana o fortuna’ (a very dramatic choice if I may say so) and lights went on and of showing different parts of the cave, going to somewhat of a climax showing the whole cave.. Trying to achieve an ‘OOOHHHH!!! – effect’. Well believe me, it didn’t work!! The whole group (around 30 men) stood there looking like, ok.. What the hell was that, why did they do that and can we go now!
The whole thing was so incredibly ridiculous! The cave wasn’t that impressive, and the whole light and hearing show, so bombastic and over the top. It didn’t make any sense! Worst thing I have seen in years! I know that I would have had a better impression of the cave without this ridiculous show, now we just stormed out, pissed off we wasted some very valuable hours of our vacation!
I get that you want to keep up with modern times and give your tour that something extra. But if you choose to do so, than put a good team on it, and research what the best options are.. I don’t think this was it! For me this was another example of what happens if you don’t think your media usage through very carefully!
I can’t help but think that it isn’t the best option to just do something with media because the rest of the world does it too. You see this in the social network area as well. Every marketer screams that you have to do something with social media, but no one tells you how to do this. So there are many brands that just create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and maybe a Hyves page as well. And then they expect that people will find them, follow them and buy more of their products or services.
Happily there are marketers who know how to do it right. Take a look at the example of Tipp-Ex. It represents what Tipp-ex does in a very original interactive way. Great way of using YouTube! (Try tickle, moonwalk, dance, plays soccer, smokes, high five and many many more)
When I see this kind of campaigns, it makes me happy that some things are used to experiment with.