New Hampshire: Subliminal Advertising Whoas

Question: How do you advertise tourism in the State of New Hampshire?

Answer: carefully

Have New Hampshire advertising programs improved since the 1870s?  Call me crazy–I say “not always.”

My public relations mentor, Seth Ames, taught that “it’s not always what you SAY, but what you intimatepay attention to the subliminal message.  Your readers are going to remember the negative implication of your advertising campaign.”

In the fledgling years of New Hampshire’s tourism, the town directories, histories and postcards were an opportunity to spread the word about our scenic splendors, the modern facilities of our hotels and inns, the deliciousness of our farm produce, and the welcoming warmth of our people.  Granted early advertising might be considered “flowery and outdated” now, but are modern day blurbs reeling the tourists in?

You be the judge.

The samples below are genuine promotions.  “Then” examples are from Appletons’ journal: a magazine of general literature, circa 1870. The “Now” examples are from New Hampshire’s official tourism web site, and the “Visit New England” web site.  The “Subliminal” examples, are ‘my take’ on how a tourist might subliminally interpret them.

THEN VS NOW: New Hampshire Tourist Promotions

Then: “…the wonders, the sublimities, and the fascinations of the Granite State.”
Now: “…a state loaded with scenic beauty and memorable vistas.”
Subliminal: Tourists should stop by one of our state-run liquor stores and get “loaded” on their way to and from the scenic beauty.

Then: “…the landscape.. has the graceful confidence of never being out of place.”
Now: “…natural vistas to keep your eyes glued the entire trip.”
Subliminal: Glued eyes sound a bit painful, don’t they? Is that similar to the sensation of sticking your tongue to a frozen flag pole?

Then: “…the points of observation are picturesque and poetical in landscape”
Now: “….the long, red-brick mills that line the rivers’ edge have been re-invented, the windows no longer broken.”
Subliminal: …the town is in decline, but the windows are no longer broken–they are boarded up instead.

Then: “…the white hills and diversified landscapes among the lesser elevations of the Granite State, abound in the element without which no natural scenery can attain the last reach of beauty–clear, deep waters.”
Now: “…with its breathtaking views of the surrounding pristine mountains and craftsmanship of a bygone era.”
Subliminal: All of the really good craftsmen are dead, so you will have to settle for buying plastic bobblehead dolls,imported from China, and Cow Super Bouncers in our gift shop.

Then: “…the powerful ocean trembles and dashes itself for pastime and demands a task.”
Now: “…and the rollicking Hampton Beach along the seacoast”
Subliminal: We’ve almost forgotten the riots that used to occur here.

Then:…”the lonely peaks stand up as landmarks of the Almighty”
Now: …”This is quintessential New England”
Subliminal:…”you’ll see lots of dirt roads, trees, and people who talk funny.”

I must admit, my favorite promotion of yesteryear is as follows:

Then: “A visitor at the White Hills says, New Hampshire would be as large as Illinois were it only flat; but it is drawn up into all manner of folds, and plaits, and made a perfect tumble of, and then is tucked away in one corner of the map where nobody would think of looking for it.”
Now: It’s a good thing a few of us did.


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