IÂll admit that I never watched Gene SimmonsÂ reality show, "Family Jewels", until he showed up on Ambergris Caye. But Gene definitely brought Belize into the limelight recently, with his latest new episode.Â After all, this confirmed bachelor finally proposed to his long-term squeeze, Shannon Tweed, right here in Belize!
So, of course I watched the show, along with millions of other viewers. The Belize Tourism Board was thrilled to announce that Belize had hit the coveted #1 Google ranking.Â Their press release claimed bragging rights:
ÂOn Tuesday, July 26, 2011, over three million viewers of A&EÂs top reality television series, watched as Mother NatureÂs Best Kept Secret proved it is the world-class destination we know it to be.Â
I didnÂt personally run into Gene and Shannon while they were visiting.Â But they were spotted all around San Pedro Town, bopping around in their golf cart.Â They did drop in at REICAÂs realty office, across from Grand BaymenÂs beachfront resort (Exotic Caye Beach Resort). REICA is the real estate group thatÂs representing our Baymen Garden condominium development. Â Click here to seeÂ pictures - from Ambergris Today...
And more pictures fromÂ the San Pedro Sun's pictures...
Remembering the ÂTemptation IslandÂ Effect
This recent media attention brought back memories of a similar phenomena that occurred about ten years ago.Â ThatÂs when ÂTemptation IslandÂ first aired in the USA.Â The tacky reality show was shot on the northern side of Ambergris Caye, at Captain Morgans, and Mata Chica. Â I didnÂt particularly like that program, either.Â But it brought Belize into the mainstream for everyday people. After that, tourism really picked up, as did development in Belize. Temptation Island put Belize on the map, so to speakÂ
So what, exactly, was the impact? Well, since Gene, the confirmed bachelor, actually proposed to Shannon while in Belize, the Family Jewels ratings went through the roof. Over 3 million viewers watched the A&E reality show. According to Selena Matus, BTBÂs Director of Tourism, during and immediately after the show is when Belize was ranked number one, as the most ÂGoogledÂ word on the Internet!
Putting a Value on Free Destination Brand Advertising
This all translates to cost-effective advertising exposure for our little known Central American hideaway. Â Within a day, BelizeÂs Facebook hits increased, almost doubling, from 7,000 up to 12,000 likes.
The Belize Tourism Board quickly calculated the value of the advertising exposure this popular reality program gained for Belize.
Â GSFJ carries an estimated advertisement value of US$9,000 to US$15,000 for every thirty second spot. When we take into account the fact that Belize was featured for at least 30 minutes on the show, we see that from just that one episode, Belize gained somewhere between US$540,000 to US$900,000 worth of destination brand advertising,Â indicated Seleni Matus.
They were ready to point out that this cost-effective exposure resulted from the BTBÂs intense marketing efforts.
Wait - it gets betterÂ This episode was a cliff hanger. Viewers must wait for Gene and Shannon to return to Belize before they hear ShannonÂs response.Â The follow up episode will be aired on TV in September, as the season opener.
Selena Matus confidently stated:
ÂThis is yet another milestone in the BTB marketing efforts and with your continued support, the BTB is confident that we will continue to see our countryÂs position grow around the world as a popular travel destination in the Caribbean and Central AmericaÂ.
Could Shannon possibly turn Gene down, after putting up with his wanton ways for so long?Â Or, will they return yet again to Belize, next time for a fantastic tropical beach wedding?
Either way, the BTB did a great job bagging this high profile TV reality show, and Google exposure.Â Heaven knows, it wonÂt hurt tourism and business in BelizeÂ