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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 1, 2003

Huh? Is Hawai'i in Bermuda?

Advertiser Staff and Wire Services

A swimsuit model on a Hawaiian beach is just the kind of photo typically used to attract tourists to the Islands. But such a photo in this month's issue of Travel and Leisure magazine isn't advertising Hawai'i but Bermuda.

This advertisement promoting Bermuda shows a model on a Hawai'i beach. Yesterday, Bermuda's Department of Tourism admitted using pictures of other destinations in its latest advertising scheme, including photos of divers in Florida and this model in Hawai'i.

Associated Press

The discovery was made by Bermuda-based photographer Graeme Outerbridge, who investigated the photograph. Though the rather generic photo does not show any recognizable Hawaiian landmarks, Graeme called the practice dishonest.

"It's clearly not a Bermuda beach," he said. "It's pretty outrageous for us to be using elements of other tourist destinations in our advertising campaign."

Bermuda's Department of Tourism was unapologetic over its use of photographs from Hawai'i and elsewhere in a promotional campaign, noting that it is a standard practice to use generic stock photos.

It's not the first time another country has tried to cash in on Hawai'i's beaches, which often are cited among the world's best. In 1993 Australia's Qantas Airways tried to lure tourists down under using a photo that was obviously taken on a beach in Lanikai.

However, stock pictures are often used in advertising, said Michael DeCouto, the Bermuda government agency's assistant director for marketing, in comments published yesterday in The Royal Gazette newspaper.

He said the photos were used by advertising agency Arnold McGrath to create "an emotion." The campaign includes two other photographs that DeCouto agreed were not of Bermuda — one of a person swimming with a dolphin and one of a diver swimming in what appears to be a school of barracuda.

Such schools aren't found off the shores of Bermuda, and would be misleading to divers who saw the photo, Outerbridge said.

The advertising campaign, which began in January, targets wealthy American adults and portrays Bermuda as sophisticated and close to the United States while retaining a British colonial charm.

Bermuda, which is a couple of hours flight from most East Coast cities, is known for its pink sand beaches — the color derived from particles of shells and coral — and the knee-length shorts that share the territory's name.