Reading one of the many stories behind the coming out of the second Madagascar cartoon movie [fr] I can’t help but question myself about what Madagascar is really expecting from all those exposures. Is it only about branding and expecting that someone will decide to come, or can we turn it into a more target-oriented marketing effort.

Let’s consider three major events that are expected to drive exposure for Madagascar.

–  Madagascar-escape 2 africa: the soon-to-be a major hit … Every tourism operator is expecting a lot from this movie. But expecting what? Everybody agrees that it will give a huge coverage for Madagascar. Lot of people also think that the cartoon does not depict the actual Madagascar. I am not sure the second cartoon will try to “correct” this. In fact, I am not sure what kind of tourist will be attracted by this cartoon to come to Madagascar: is it the kid who barely wants to explore more about Madagascar than what is depicted in the cartoon (and who will assimilate Madagascar to all the marketing goodies that goes along with the promotion of this cartoon: figurines, playing cards, T-shirts, games, …). Is it about the journalists- and their readers- that will give their critique about the movie? …  Frankly, I’m a bit lost when I want to find a answer that goes beyond “that’s a huge publicity for Madagascar”. I am even tempted to ask, if this cartoon will give a good coverage for the “Madagascar (the name)”, will it reflect what Madagascar tourism operators wants Madagascar (the island) to be perceived as?

South africa 2010- football world cup: yes, that’s a huge opportunity, and Madagascar is only 3 hours flight from Johannesburg. All the aficionados of football will come to support their team and have fun.  At least, this time we have a clear profile of the tourist that will possibly come , we also have a rough estimation of  journalists that will cover this event (2000)… We also know that the national tourism office is negotiating to have South-African tour operators to include Madagascar in the circuits they propose.That seems to be a more target-oriented approach and I personnaly think now is already the time for TO to seduce those probable customers.

– African Union summit 2009 hosted by Madagascar: yet another exposure opportunity for Madagascar. Although this is not about tourism, we expect to have a lot of journalists covering the event, and also making special reports on different aspects of Madagascar- the hosting country. I personally think that Madagascra definitely need to leverage on one part of Web 2.0 (user generated content) in order to give different (or same) point of view of what is going to be reported during this event. But this time again, from the tourism perspective,  do we have a clear idea of who are we targeting? Is it the delegations that are going to come here? Or is it only about brand (Madagascar) management

Now the question is: how to get the most out of those events to attract tourists?