From hotbed to hotspot

Ads showcasing Armenia, Bosnia, Croatia

Viewers of CNN International often hear tales of woe from far-flung corners of the globe, but several countries with tumultuous histories are currently being featured on the channel in a different, unexpected light.

Welcome to Croatia — vacation destination!

A noticeable portion of the international feed’s ad load has been coming lately from locales such as Armenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Malaysia and Montenegro — each individually showcased in similar-looking spots that, almost without exception, emphasize their rich history and sandy beaches, invariably populated by at least one ravishingly beautiful woman and plenty of smiling kids.

A spokeswoman for CNN International says the channel is tapping into a growing advertiser base among countries seeking to boost their tourism profiles — which explains CNN’s launch in May of a Tourism Advertising Solutions & Knowledge Group (or TASK for short), a consulting arm established to advise buyers in that sector.

The TASK group promises to offer new clients services to “significantly enhance their nation and brand building efforts.” So far, the countries mentioned above appear to have seized on imagery they think will entice international travelers — the kind that resembles happy hour at Club Med in Cancun.

In the meantime, CNN’s international aud has a new game they can play whenever the haunting music and breathtaking scenery begins to roll past them: Before the closing reveal identifies where it is, viewers can guess for which location the ad was produced — is that the Greek Isles, or maybe Montenegro?

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