New Zealand is a popular holiday destination for people from all over the world. Travellers of all ages, all incomes, all interests will journey for several days to see, taste and experience all that New Zealand has to offer.
Some will enjoy luxury accommodation – spending many hundred of dollars for a night in a hotel – while others will stay in a backpacker’s hostel.
The choice, though, for many is to experience New Zealand by camper van.
Touring by camper van isn’t cheap. Young travellers straight out of school or university don’t have a great deal of money, and it’s expensive flying to New Zealand, so understandably they want to rent a van for as little as possible. And as there are lots of visitors at this end of the market, cheap camper-vanning is very competitive.
Companies will do crazy deals and will do anything to get noticed.
Yup. Anything. And that includes painting the vans in all sorts of designs – some have pictures that you probably wouldn’t approve of – and slogans that make you look twice.
For all the wrong reasons.
The company, whose name can easily be found online, has been in quite a lot of trouble recently for some of the messages painted on the sides of their vans. They are, according to many people, rude and tasteless and offensive – particularly to women. It’s getting to the point, the reports say, when campground owners are embarrassed to have these vans stay overnight at their parks.
The camper van company in question would say that the paint jobs on their vans do three things: cover up and cheer up the tired old vehicles that they rent out and help hide some of the bumps and dents; show a bit of fun; and make the company get noticed. As they say, all publicity is good publicity. In other words, even if people are talking about your company for the wrong reasons, people are still talking about you and your product (in this case camper vans) and so it’s a kind of advertising.
After all, there will always be people who need camper vans to travel around New Zealand.
But is this really the image that we want to show to young travellers – and to the impressionable minds of our own young people? That New Zealanders don’t mind offending people – especially women? That it’s okay to be unpleasant and disrespectful? That it’s perfectly fine to have rude messages painted on the sides of vans? After all, if any of us were rude or offensive or drew upsetting things at school we’d soon be in a lot of trouble. Somehow, though, it’s okay when it’s on a van.
Well it’s not.
It’s time that these vans – and the company itself – smartened up its act. Without them on the roads the country will be smarter, the campgrounds will be smarter, the travellers will get a smarter impression of our beautiful country, and our own smart attitudes will be there for all the world to see.
Article written by Ben Egerton
This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:
Critical Thinking Challenges:
- Why do people enjoy seeing New Zealand by camper van?
- ‘All publicity is good publicity’. What does this mean? Do you agree with the statement?
- Some people say that the rude designs on the vans are just a bit of harmless fun. Is it?
- Young travellers to New Zealand need to travel cheaply and safely. How else might camper van companies go about getting business in a competitive market?
- Who cares what goes on the side of vans… as long as it means that more tourists can visit New Zealand. Explain why you agree or disagree with this statement.
- Visit one of the many online booking sites to car and camper van rental. Work out a journey through New Zealand and find out how much it costs for hiring the van and staying overnight in campgrounds. Give yourself an imaginary budget – say $5000. How far can you go? Where can you go? How long could your road trip last?
- Instead of rude and tasteless pictures on the sides of a camper van, design your own! Find or draw a blank camper van, then you and your classmates can come up with different eye-catching and unique images.
Have Your Say:
[socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2357767″]