A bad case of Canadian shoot and foot disease

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.


Do you think the travel retail industry sometimes shoots itself in the foot?

I do. And here’s a glaring example.  It’s an advertisement for a cigarette brand, published in an international travel retail publication during the Duty Free Show of the Americas in Orlando.

The brand is called Double Happiness. Perhaps it should have been called Double Illness, for that’s exactly what the advertisement emphasises. Now I know all about Canadian duty free tobacco regulations and restrictions (which include an insistence on some of the most graphic health warnings on the planet). But actually, does this advertising benefit anyone? It is, quite simply, grotesque.

“A single stroke can leave you helpless,” proclaims one pack. “I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx when I was 48,” says the other. “I had to have my vocal chords removed and now I breathe through a hole in my throat – Leroy.”

I wonder exactly how the brand measures the effectiveness of this advertising?

And here’s one I prepared earlier…

Let me give you another example, quoted in an earlier Blog, from Miami International Airport. At the risk of repeating myself, I will… repeat myself.

If you wonder why airport food generally has a low place in public affection  then signs like the one below might explain it. It reads: “Airport good food… three words you don’t often see together.” It’s positioned outside La Carreta Cuban Kitchen (below) and besides the fact that I wouldn’t say the food looks spectacularly good to me (nor the décor), I really do question why an airport restaurateur would perpetuate a long-time negative stereotype about food & beverage.






In fairness the outlet has been rated highly by Conde Naste Traveller but so have many other airport restaurants. So let’s not go singling ourselves out for glory while damning our competitors and the reputation of the sector, ok?

In my keynote speech at the OTG conference last week, I criticised how airports and their restaurateurs often communicate with passengers, notably in terms of signage that is anything but appetising. I include an examples below from Hong Kong International Airport pointing to an SSP Food Court, in which I can’t tell if the man with the chopsticks and rice is eating or throwing up (but I sure as heck know that it doesn’t make me hungry).


HKIA bad sign 1


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