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What matters most: exposure or targeted customers for Madagascar?

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?

Madagascar the movie… the second tsunami is coming

ok, this is not a scoop, neither is it an unexpected news … November 7th, the second of a series for the Madagascar movie (escape 2 africa) will be in theater … and it already begins to make a buzz on the internet.

Watching the trailer, Dreamworks took the same ingredients (yep, they couldn’t eliminate from the casting those cute lemurs), seems like the same song still prevails  (have you ever tried to google for “I like to move it”)

On the first cartoon, Madagascar (the island) was expecting a lot (more than the 500 000USD dreamworks dared to give the island, BTW what has happened to this m oney?) from this worldwide success. Tourism operators anticipated a good coverage of Madagascar… I personally think (a lot of debates has been floating around within Malagasy internet users about it) that this cartoon diminishes Madagascar’s image to the only lemurs … Madagascar operators tried to surf the wave of this first cartoon but I guess we did not get out the best of it.

So now, here we go again for another round.
There’s no time to waste. Well, we are now at the peak-season of tourism in Madagascar so I guess no one really care about strategizing on how to best take advantage of this second worldwide success (because at least, I anticipate people will talk about this cartoon: for good or for bad)…

Nonetheless, let’s try to anticipate what’s going to happen:

– internet will be flooded by the madagascar movie …Even now, try to do a search on the keyword “Madagascar”, you’ll already see signs of the invasion … Is it good or bad? hmmm …It really depends on how we see things. The first time I thought it was bad for Madagascar (the island), but now, I think we can better take advantage of it …Wait and see 🙂

– some purist will try to communicate that “madagascar is an island before it was a movie” … but do people really care? How many times I’ve been introduced to foreigners, and when I say I’m from Madagascar, most of the time the other person says “Waoow, I loved this movie” … What the heck can you reply to it? …

So what’s your view on this? Madagascar (the movie)… is there any good for Madagascar (the island) out there? If yes, how could Madagascar (the island) shine from it?

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