Despite the best efforts of the British Tourist Authority and the Department of Culture Media & Sport, those little devils at Thomson Holidays seem to be thwarting all efforts to push a new glitzy image for Britain.
One of the winners at the recent International Tourism, Travel & Leisure Advertising awards in Valencia was a Thomson campaign created by Paradiset DDB in Sweden.
The ads feature a series of rain-soaked but very British characters in damp, grey settings. These include a woman whose husband has left her to live in Hawaii, a grumpy traffic warden, a senile old buffer saying how rain is character-forming and a young woman obsessed with the colour grey.
The ads finish with the strapline: “It’s probably no surprise that a country with a 180 days of rainfall is the world champion in package holidays.”
Almost unanimous laughter burst out across the auditorium – the notable exceptions being delegates from the British Tourist Authority.