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Aruba. One Happy Island? No. Aruba Is One Scary Island.

Aruba One Happy Island - is One Scary Island

Aruba One Happy Island gets a redisign. The new Aruba logo should more accurately depict the island’s true possibilities.

I live in Alabama.  I’m really not the person you want to pitch with news of Aruba’s new rebranding initiative.

That didn’t stop them, though. They pitched me via email today.

A PR agency just found one long list of PR people and sent out the blast email release. Yet one more example of poor PR practice.   I only write of this because it is so ironic that they would pitch me on this story, of all stories.  A truly clueless effort.

Why does Aruba need to rebrand itself?  Because of the horrible way they handled the Natalee Holloway disappearance (and much more).

Is Aruba One Happy Island?

We in Alabama remember that.  It is the reason the mere mention of Aruba raises angry and bitter feelings.  It is the reason we are certain that Aruba is a horrible place.  They seem to care more about their tourism industry than the safety of those that visit Aruba.

So, I’ll reprint their release. That’s what they wanted, right? I’ll just use different links … and I’ll tell you the reason why they have to do a rebranding.

Now, do you still want to go to Aruba for your vacation?

Do you really want your children to take their Spring Break trips to Aruba?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The long string of stories in this Google News search is representative of the reason why Aruba is undertaking this rebranding effort.   Gee, if they would only spend as much effort in finding Holloway and/or truly solving the case.


Natalee Holloway - the innocent victim of Aruba's disregard for life.

Natalee Holloway – the innocent victim of Aruba’s disregard for life.

NEW YORK, NY (September 20, 2010) – The Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) is pleased to announce the launch of a new global branding campaign for the country, which includes a redesigned logo and the re-launch of the “One Happy Island” tagline.  The new branding will be introduced in the U.S. through a new advertising campaign titled “Aruba Uncovered,” which will include print, TV, online and out of home ads, and is slated to launch September 27, 2010.

The heart of Aruba’s new brand identity is its new logotype, which includes new typography, colors and imagery; and has at its core symbol the red compass rose from Aruba’s national flag, representing the national pride of the island.  The placement of bold, impactful letters in the logo reflect a playful attitude, while the colors echo the island’s natural environment, from the clear blue and turquoise of its sky and sea to the fresh and crisp green of its flora and fauna.

Another key aspect of the new branding is the re-launch of the “One Happy Island” tagline, which had previously been used as Aruba’s official slogan for decades.  The tagline still holds a strong identification with the local community on the island, and has been used as the inscription on Aruba license plates for many years.  Highly recognized by visitors from across the world, the tagline will now be officially used in all marketing initiatives worldwide, as a bold and contemporary central theme for promoting the country.

“The government of Aruba currently has a number of tourism-related initiatives underway to fulfill our collective vision for the island, and our new brand identity is a large part of that,” said Mr. Otmar Oduber, Aruba’s Minister of Tourism, Labor and Transportation. “The new universal brand positioning builds on our pride for our country as both a wonderful place to live and to visit.  We are one happy island, and we want everyone to know it.”

The new brand identity was developed by The Partners, a New York-based company specializing in brand strategy and design, which was tasked with creating an exciting and globally consistent image of Aruba, to be used both on-island and in all of its marketing arenas.

“Aruba’s unique culture and beautiful surroundings offered us an ideal foundation for creating a vibrant global brand,” said Steven Gilliatt, Managing Director, The Partners. “This was a wonderful opportunity to support the government of Aruba in building a sustainable marketing program that will promote tourism to the island for years to come.”

The new branding will be unveiled in the U.S. through the new “Aruba Uncovered” advertising campaign created by Deutsch Inc. The new television ads feature Ian Wright, host of the travel/adventure television series, Globe Trekker, as he travels to Aruba to learn about the island and the people firsthand. The ads are filmed in an unscripted documentary style and show interaction with local Arubans to reinforce the welcoming spirit of the island in an authentic way.  The ads are slated to begin airing in Aruba’s top regional markets, including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington DC, Harford/New Haven, Pittsburg and Atlanta, among others.

“In filming the new TV ads, we avoided the typical seductions of island paradise, and instead created smiling invitations from a beautiful place, with unpretentious and disarmingly friendly Arubans,” said Greg DiNoto, Partner, Chief Creative Officer, Deutsch NY. “Ian Wright was a natural choice for our spokesperson—he’s a ‘winking proxy’ for all of us jaded travelers.  In our unscripted spots, Ian registers genuine surprise and delight at how friendly Aruba can be, and lets consumers reset the agenda for a tropical vacation.”

Deutsch also created a new print and online campaign, featuring the “One happy island” tagline and new logo.  The new print ads will begin running nationally in October in publications such as Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Brides and more. Online ads will be appearing on TheKnot.com, Travel Channel online, Yahoo.com, Weather.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz and more.

Advertisements will also appear in the form of phone kiosks, branded subway trains and train platform posters in New York and Boston – Aruba’s top two markets in the U.S.

Aruba’s new global marketing identity has a direct link to the island’s Bo Aruba initiative, which includes plans to renovate and improve important civic and tourist areas in downtown Oranjestad and throughout the island.  Colorful examples of the new brand are currently displayed with banners, signage and street architecture throughout Aruba.

For more information on travel to Aruba, please visit online at http://www.ARUBA.com/ or call 1-800-TO-ARUBA.

About Aruba
Aruba, One happy island, is truly an extraordinary experience.  Located only two-and-a-half hours by air from Miami and four hours from New York City, the island is ideally situated in the southern Caribbean and boasts year-round cooling trade winds and perfect weather with average annual temperatures of 82 Fahrenheit and less than 20 inches of rainfall per year.  Aruba serves up 28 luxurious hotels/resorts, championship golf courses, sumptuous spas, vibrant casinos, extraordinary international and local cuisine, exclusive shops and boutiques, exciting land and water activities, art galleries and museums, world-famous festivals and events, clubs and cafes with live music and world class beaches. The backdrop of a cosmopolitan tropical destination with warm, hospitable people is the perfect place for first-time guests and loyal visitors.

About The Partners
With over 25 years experience, The Partners specializes in building brand strategies, rejuvenating existing brands, and consulting across all areas of visual brand identification. The consultancy has a wide range of expertise spanning many sectors, and has worked with some of the world’s most notable brands. The Partners is part of WPP Group (NASDAQ: WPPGY), a world leader in marketing communications, advertising, and marketing services. To learn more about The Partners, please visit http://www.the-partners.com/.

About Deutsch Inc.
Deutsch Inc. (www.deutschinc.com) is a multi-disciplinary marketing communications agency known for its insatiable culture and ability to drive business results for clients. Deutsch crafts a best-in-class array of marketing programs and works with many notable clients. Deutsch Inc. is the North American hub of the Lowe & Partners global network.

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Practitioner’s Name Redacted
Email address redacted.


  1. Honestly, have you ever been to Aruba then? You must be an amazing ignorant person.
    To blame a whole island and it’s people for one persons horrible deed. Trust me nobody on Aruba will ever forget what happened to Natalee and there is most definitely no disregard for her life. The man responsible was a monster and he had help from his father to cover things up. He eventually could not cover his evil ways any longer and got what he
    deserved. This does not mean that the whole of Aruba is an evil place where one should not go. I guess the same should be said about America, as more people dissappear and are killed by guns than has happened in the whole of Aruba’s history. Maybe we should write stupid horrible blogs about America and tell people not to visit cause your children might be shot in the street. Do not write about things you know nothing about. This is a small island that subsist on tourism, nothing wrong with a bit of advertising. Get your facts straight and go visit the island and then have a proper opinion.

    • I’m sorry you did not grasp the rationale behind this post. It was an exercise. As the post clearly states, the PR pitch I received is “one more example of poor PR practice. I only write of this because it is so ironic that they would pitch me on this story, of all stories. A truly clueless effort.” Please note the “I only write of this because” statement.

      The purpose of the post? Accomplish two things. (1) To point out poor PR practice. (2) Illustrate how opposing opinions may achieve significant visibility when responding to that poor practice. And, yes … the post also serves to remind people of the tragedy that befell an innocent person.

      I come back to this post from time to time to illustrate to my students how a process works … and how they may successfully respond to issues for their clients. I did what the PR agency asked. I reposted their news release. The only real differences? I changed the links to stories about the tragedy.

      It is ironic … in many ways. The PR practitioner used their effort to try and convey one meaning AND attempted to influence (cause) a specific behavior/action. They wanted people to share their news release and, in turn, convey a positive view of Aruba. Their poor practice only served to accomplish the opposite. How?

      Since I was actually writing about PR practice and its implications, I would like you to try something. Search in any search engine for “Aruba One Happy Island” and look at the results. I just searched in the 5 top search engines and found the post still ranking high. In 5 sites, this post and/or the image appear on the first page of results.

      So, your comment is also ironic. You suggest I look deeper and learn more, yet you failed to do so. This post is four years old. The results of the post are clear. I hope you now understand what this post is really about.

  2. Ok, look. Aruba is safe, I mean, you can leave your purse somewhere and go look for something and when you come back, it’s still there. As long as that s possible, Aruba is safe. And yes, what happened whit Nathalie holloway is ver terrible, but such a murder is like, once in every 2 years, and in the states, it’s one murder every so manny seconds.
    And I wouldn’t have a reason why I don’t want to go on vacation to aruba, it’s a great place. I’m born here, and I’ve lived here my whole life. Nothing bad ever happened to me, I’m not saying that the chance of you getting robbed, molested, killed isn’t possible. That is normal. Did you ever go to Colombia? There you can even have a golden watch, they will literally cut your hand off for a watch, phone, purse, money, etc… And that clearly isn’t like that here in Aruba. Now, do you have any more questions?

    • “Andrew” – I will refer you to the comment just above your’s with an explanation for the post.

      Your comment, which I can understand why you would wish to make it, looks like yet another anonymous comments from an Oranjestad, Aruba IP address. The “Andrew” IP address traces back to another person’s name.

      Your email address also shows up in various ‘for sale’ email lists used by people to disguise their identity. Could that describe you? If you’re so proud of Aruba, one would think you’d sign your real name.

      I don’t approve all the comments on this post because of your sort of tactic on behalf of Aruba, but I’ll leave your’s. At least you weren’t vulgar.

  3. Really? You consider an 18 year old girl who went to another country and left a bar with a strange guy an “innocent victim”? No, that was stupid decision that cost her and her family dearly.
    No matter where you go, things can happen if you don’t practice common sense. An example of an innocent victim (or 2) would be the couple that was murdered in their resort room in Antigua while on honeymoon in 2007. Natalee’s case is unfortunate, but it has nothing to do with the safety in Aruba. Aruba is a beautiful island with great people, and I never felt unsafe there. I’ve been to almost every island in the Caribbean and I felt safer in Aruba than most of them.
    Worse things happen right in your own back yard to innocent victims, that doesn’t stop you from living in America, does it?
    Get a grip on reality.

    • Amanda, respectfully, please read the comments I have shared. They explain this post quite clearly. I realize that some of the more ardent supporters from Aruba (and those who have visited) will not agree with my views and rationale for the post, but that’s OK. I’ve allowed your comment through because, unlike so many others, you were at least not vulgar.

      The one thing I usually cannot tell from the comments is … does this person live in Aruba, work for the PR agency or any Aruba tourism entity? Hmm? Is it possible that people are seeking to put a spin on this post with their comments?

      I wonder why so many people won’t sign their posts in a transparent manner?

  4. I am from aruba and it is really save here you american people from alabama think just because natalee or what ever her name was got in some stuf with a dutch boy not arubian boy a dutch boy and whent missing all of our island has to blame the goverment even gave everyone a day off to help search and do not forget her mothers mistakes to. have a nice day l

  5. I am from Aruba, and my question to you is if you would like for someone to do this to the people from Alabama just because of 1 incident that happened in Alabama. Has Alabama never had a serial killer before, do the people from Alabama not know what a murder is because that is something that does not happen there?

    And by the way, for a person who has never lived in Aruba. What the hell do you really know about the Aruban population except for the opinions you have formed about us while you were at home behind your computer typing this post?

    To my knowledge, on most caribbean islands you cannot leave the premises of the hotel because it is too dangerous. You can do that in Aruba. And tourist do that on a daily basis here without any problems.

    Wr are a small island of only 100,000 inhabitants where most people support their families because of their jobs in the tourism. So why should they suffer because 1 guy and 1 girl decided to pair up and it did not end well.

    Nobody wishes that on their child. Murders happen rarely on the island, if it’s once every 3 years its a lot.

    I found your page because I googled: Aruba symbol. And to my surprise the picture you have on this page is what I found. I feel ashamed of this, especially coming from a person who has never lived in Aruba. So what if Aruba wants to re-brand?

    Did the U.S not want to move on from 911. Yes. So why can’t we? For us the whole Natalee Holloway case was a mayor event in our island’s history! Believe me nobody will ever forget her. And coming from the next 99,999 inhabitants in Aruba we are truly truly sorry from the bottom of our hearts about what happened. We do not know how many more times we can say this to people like you. But we need to move on from that incident!

    This post is not influencing the person that is guilty for doing what he did to Natalee. He is locked up in Peru. Nevertheless, it influences those 99,999 people who work their asses off everyday to feed their children. Think about that for a second instead of the re-branding of Aruba.

    Please, I ask you in their name, at least take the picture down. You can have your opinion about us that’s fine. However, I feel like it’s not fair for me to google Aruba and find this picture. I am sure you would not like it if I took a national symbol of Alabama and do what you did to the Aruba logo to it.

    My field of study is not communications. However, for being a professor in communications I think you should know better. A picture speaks a thousand words.

    How would you feel if you were in my shoes?