We've all read about the value of user generated content (UGC) and viral marketing. Unfortunately the best intentions do not always produce the desired results. Positively Cleveland, a DMO that promotes the region created a "Hastily-Made Tourism Video Contest". The goal was simple, use UGC to promote the city. This video was "created" for the contest, but obviously was never selected. None the less the first version of this funny but disturbing video has attracted 1,206,632 views. The second version to the left has attracted 994,291 views. When searching Cleveland on YouTube this video comes up 1st!
The lesson here is an important one. Travel companies can try to use UGC to enhance their online offering, but beware as the Internet user population may take this opportunity to do exactly the opposite from your intended goal. The sad part of this video is that though it is obviously a farce, it does show our country's declining "rust belt" and the toll the Recession has taken on the area.