Bowen Island is awful

Sassy animal mascots help Rethink keep the island in B.C. a (sort of) well-kept secret.

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What did you do during the Canada Day long weekend? Did you fight crowds of other tourists that also happened to descend on a beach you thought was your own secret getaway? Bowen Island in British Columbia is one of those places for a lot of people, and it wants to make sure it stays that way.

Taking inspiration from the “Keep Portland Weird” motto, Rethink helped the town’s Municipal Economic Development Committee come up with new branding and a campaign that makes the island more attractive by trying its hardest to keep people away – unless, of course, they are the kind of cool person that is in the know about what makes it such a great place. In addition to postcards, t-shirts and other merch, each of the mascots are also brought to life in videos that will be used on online video and social platforms (the ones you see below are just “prototypes”; Bowen Island will be asking residents to both name the mascots and provide the final voiceovers).

Of course, there are some more “traditional” tourism messages mixed in, with the animal mascots talking about things to do on Bowen or how beautiful the island’s forests are. But they are all still a bit sassy, and talking about things only real Bowen Island lovers will understand.

“Anyone who lives here has a love-hate relationship with visitors,” said Chris Staples, national CD at Rethink and Bowen resident. “We love to show off our island, but we don’t want it to be overrun with tourists. We don’t want to become Squamish. We want visitors, but only if they really ‘get’ what makes Bowen special.”

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Credits:

Brand: Bowen Island Tourism
Agency: Rethink