Marketing the Apocalypse: Mexico's Doing It, So Can You

Hey, If the World's Gonna End, Might As Well Make Some Money Off It

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Dec. 21, 2012 -- exactly a year from today -- marks the date many historians and archaeologists have cited as the end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar. Now, Mexico is looking to capitalize on the buzz around that date.

For starters, in the city of Tapachula, near the Pacific coast and on the border of Guatemala, tourism officials have erected a gigantic digital clock to help everyone count down to the finale. Elsewhere across the country, hundreds of events and tours are being offered all year, with a special eye cast toward Mayan region.

The timing couldn't be better. As Ad Age reported earlier this summer. Mexico is challenged as a brand and has embarked on a heavy PR campaign to entice tourists who have been put off by media coverage of murder and kidnappings. And after all, what could be more tranquil than the world ending while you're lying on the beach with a beer in your hand?

Naturally the U.S. can't just stand on the sidelines. One Long Beach, Calif., hotel called the Maya -- owned by Hilton's Doubletree brand -- has just launched a yearlong promotion called "The Year to Go Mayan" which will feature a Mayan-themed dinner show and historical lectures, as well as a giveaway for a Yucatan vacation. Reads the copy on their Facebook promo: "The Mayan Calendar is running out. And so is your chance to win big."

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