'Ask Gudmundur': Iceland tourism launches 'human search engine'
An Icelandic man named Gudmundur offers tips about his country in this image captured from video. (InspiredbyIceland / YouTube)
Published Wednesday, April 29, 2015 9:25AM EDT
The Icelandic tourist office has launched what it calls "the world’s first human search engine" in a cheeky promotional campaign that invites visitors to ask a real-life, honest-to-goodness person any travel questions they may have about the country.
Instead of 'Googling' their question, for instance, why not #AskGudmundur, one of the most common first names in Iceland, claimed by more than 4,000 men and women.
That’s out of a national population of 329,100.
Throughout the campaign, which runs until the fall, tourists will be able to direct their travel-related questions to seven specialists who share the first name Gudmundur and live in one of seven regions in the country.
Questions about the weather, dining and local activities can be asked via social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube with the hashtag #AskGudmundur.
Their latest tourism campaign builds on the marketing tradition of personalizing the Icelandic travel experience.
In 2011, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson famously issued an open invitation to visitors for a pancake breakfast at the presidential residence as part of a tourism campaign that encouraged locals to likewise open up their own homes and offer an authentic local travel experience to tourists.
The concept also takes a page out of the playbook of Ikea, which last fall poked fun at the digitized world when it launched the bookbook, “a device so simple and intuitive, using it almost seems familiar.”
The promo was for its latest catalog.