Brown gaze doesn’t sell: Tourism centre declares after “Love True Dhaka” campaign | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:30 AM, June 27, 2020

Brown gaze doesn’t sell: Tourism centre declares after “Love True Dhaka” campaign

Beiman Airlines, the country's flag bearer, teamed up with a local artist's Instagram page to promote the "real Dhaka" in order to attract the weirdest of the tourist bunch -- the ones who like chai tea.   

Their first few promotions were instantly panned as pandering to an exoticised version of the country's capital, for which they quickly turned towards realism. And that is when it all fell apart.

The gritty depictions resulted in even some Dhaka residents opting to leave the city they had never loved to begin with. 

"I always went by artistic impressions of our city on Instagram to understand what Dhaka really looks like. And now this campaign has shown me the truth," Simran Sultana, who has never left the tristate area nor seen any of Dhaka's rivers, said.

After the new artworks were posted, many prospective tourists also cancelled their flight tickets to Dhaka. "This was supposed to be a city of rivers. All these images show are sand-filled rivers, encroachers everywhere, dead fish and boats stuck in areas which seem to suddenly have ran out of water. I am never visiting this country, where the servers of chai tea don't even wear masks," one commentator on Beiman Airlines' Facebook page said.

Following the grand failure of the campaign, the tourism centre decided to cancel it and issued a stern warning against pandering to the brown gaze.

"The brown gaze doesn't sell. The brown gaze only lands upon problems," Tourism Officer Hakimullah said.

"Can I also be real for a minute? This entire campaign is the result of listening to opposing voices who don't understand what marketing is. It is the greatest tool of our time and those working for it are the real frontline workers," the officer said.    

"Also, we have pretty much sold everything else to other countries, so why not?"

Activist Tahmina Rahman, who had been outraged with the previous campaign, expressed satisfaction with the new one. "Yes, from a marketing point of view it may not have been great, but perhaps it's time to turn to more ethical ways of selling things. This is Dhaka. And oftentimes its current predicament is the direct result of the wrong gaze falling upon it. Perhaps, we would be wiser to not invite more of those," she said, always maintaining a steady, calm tone for some reason.


Lubnan Khaleesi is all about food for gains now. Snacks are old news and so is eating after 8pm.

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