By BI: In the wake of Tuesday’s deadly Islamic terrorist attack that killed at least 34 people, Brussels officials may regret an advertising campaign that began in January 2016, ridiculing the idea the city was a center of Islamic radicalism.
Daily Caller VisitBrussels, the city’s tourism department, crafted the #CallBrussels campaign in an effort to disassociate the city with Islamic terror after residents were linked to the November, 2015, Paris attacks and other extremist plots.
As part of the campaign, VisitBrussels set up telephones across the city and invited people to call them in order to speak with Brussels passersby. It then used these calls to create a video touting Brussels as a peaceful, welcoming city.
“After Brussels was linked to terror plots, the international media portrayed the city as a warzone,” the ad said. “We wanted to change this perception with an honest answer.” The ad then shows interactions with (supposedly) random Belgians, who assure callers the city is completely safe.
From 7 January to 11 January, 12688 phone calls were made from 154 countries. The campaign was exported to the entire world: from neighbouring countries to The United States, Japan, Brazil and even Australia. 74 % were international phone calls.
The action was also widely followed on social media. The hashtag #CallBrussels was used all over the world and became the most popular hashtag in Belgium at its launch. Over 9,317,000 people have seen the hashtag.
Thank you very much for calling and see you soon in Brussels.
Molenbeek is featured in the commercial below. Molenbeek was one of the terrorists’ targets yesterday.