Alex Massie

Madison Avenue, we have a problem. Can you help?

Madison Avenue, we have a problem. Can you help?
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There are those people - mainly on the right - who don't think it a problem that, for one reason or another, the United States has an image problem overseas. Of course one may disapprove of American policy - or merely the manner in which it has been implemented - while remaining enamoured of the United States itself.

Still, the United States does have a problem. Don't take my word for it; the US tourism business  - despite the weakness of the dollar! - seems to have got the message. How else to explain the rash of advertisements on British TV making the case that your next holiday should be taken in the United States?

In fact, anecdotal evidence and a spot of common sense intuition supports the notion that it is changed visa regulations and the unpleasantness of the immigration experience at US airports (take a bow JFK!) that has made people leary of visiting the United States. Word of mouth is a powerful thing; almost everyone I know who's visited the US in recent years will testify that it's not much fun being treated as though one were a criminal simply because one wishes to enter the US. Unfair perhaps, but there you have it.

DiscoverAmerica.com You've Seen The Films, Now Visit The Set.

I may be wrong, but I can't recall ever having seen the US advertising itself as a tourist destination on British TV before. Turkey or Dubai, yes, but not the USA. And while I'm sure there have been print campaigns before, this is the first time I've seen such an extensive TV campaign.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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