Donald Trump’s dismissal of Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole countries” has been widely condemned as a racist and unpresidential slur. But canny marketers in some of the targeted countries have also recognized it as a unique promotional opportunity.
A tourism website in Zambia is using the slam as a marketing prop, with a Facebook post inviting tourists to “Visit ****hole Zambia.” And in Haiti, an ad agency has seized on the controversy as the ideal moment to try to promote what is great about the country, launching a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a marketing campaign for the Caribbean nation in the U.S.
“Recently Haiti has become the subject of headline news. And we couldn’t think of a less shitty time to take this newfound buzz and use it to showcase all the shitty beauty and culture Haiti has to offer,” ad agency Parkour Studio wrote in a Facebook post announcing their pitch for the “Greetings from the Sh**hole” campaign.
Its GoFundMe page features mocked-up tourism posters for the proposed campaign, with scenes of idyllic waterfalls and beaches superimposed with slogans such as “A majestic sh**hole awaits” and “It’s always sunny in sh**hole country.” At the time of this writing, the campaign, launched Friday, had raised just over $2,000 of its $40,000 target.
The tourism website Zambiatourism.com had a similar response. Its spin on the controversy, featuring an attractive sunset scene, also takes some thinly veiled swipes at the U.S. president, promising potential visitors that “the only stars and stripes you'll have to see are in the sky and on a zebra.”
“Where beautiful vistas and breathtaking wildlife are our trump card!” the post adds.