Following on from Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels that killed at least 34 people, authorities in the country may regret a commercial released two months ago in which they ridiculed the idea that the city was a hotbed for ‘Islamic radicalism’.
In January the city’s tourism department, VisitBrussels, unveiled a #CallBrussels campaign – reassuring tourists that Brussels was a safe place to visit even though the city housed terrorists linked to the Paris Attacks.
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.
After Tuesday’s bombings killed several dozen Brusseleirs, some people on Twitter quickly brought up the ad for ridicule.
— Gwilherm (@drougBzh) March 22, 2016
— Tom Dan (@TomDanTheRock) March 22, 2016