When most people think of Bournemouth, they think of a small town on the south coast of England, full of retirement homes, and where it rains a lot.
And when they think of California, they think of young, active people enjoying the year-round sunshine, a relaxed atmosphere, and a place where more surfing gets done than work.
Taking the lead from the ‘Visit California’ ad that aims to challenge misconceptions about the US state, the Bournemouth Tourism Marketing Group has come up with a new funny campaign featuring Harry Redknapp, actress Debra Stephenson, and Alex James, the Blur bassist.
The parody ad shows some unexpected aspects of the seaside town, including a granny going surfing and a man enjoying a meal on a terrace while the Red Arrows fly overhead.
It begins with Debra Stevenson putting on a faux American accent and challenging viewers to overcome some misconceptions. QPR manager Redknapp, who has never hidden his love of the area, is seen swinging a golf club, while Alex James invites viewers to visit Bournemouth “whatever the weather”.
In the slightly more glamorous California version, a pretty blonde rather than a granny is seen with a surfboard tucked under her arm. England legend David Beckham has a knock about on the beach, while Arnold Schwarzenegger has a meal at a picturesque seaside restaurant.
It’s nice to see a tourism body run a campaign that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And Jasmine Connolly, of the Bournemouth Tourism Marketing Group, said local businesses in the area had been very positive about it.
She said: “The reaction has been really positive – a lot of people from local business have contacted us and said its fantastic, that it’s something a bit different.”