Ecuador goes for 'Hail Mary' with $3 million Super Bowl ad

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Ecuador wants more Americans to visit its pristine jungles, snow-capped mountains and sun-kissed beaches. So the South American country is shelling out $3 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad that tells viewers Ecuador is “All You Need.”


The Andean nation, whose economy is about the same size as Arkansas', is entering unchartered waters by doubling down on the Super Bowl, one of the most expensive TV advertising spots of the year. It’s apparently the first time a foreign country is using the big game in a costly attempt to lure more tourists to its shores.

The ad will look somewhat like this video, with scenes of smiling gringos marveling at Ecuador’s natural attractions while The Beatles’ classic “All You Need Is Love” plays in the background, accompanied by a monotoned voice speaking the lyrics. Similar tourism commercials will be shown on NBC shows as part of the “All You Need is Ecuador” campaign.

The ads are a significant investment for Ecuador’s Tourism Ministry, which spent a total of $5 million on media campaigns in 2013.

But tourism officials predict the Super Bowl gamble will pay off in the form of 13,000 more Americans tourists visiting Ecuador this year and a $60 million boost in tourism revenue. Some 259,000 U.S. citizens visited Ecuador last year, according to ministry statistics.

“Advertising during the Super Bowl means we dare to dream big,” Ecuador’s Tourism Minister Sandra Naranjo said at a press conference last week.

The ministry said it expects the campaign’s benefits will “be the equivalent to 15 times what was invested” in the Super Bowl ad, but hasn't shown its math.


Rob Siltanen, chief creative officer at Siltanen & Partners, a leading U.S. ad agency, writes in Forbes that Super Bowl commercials have helped boost sales for brands like Skechers, Audi and Chrysler by nearly 20 percent. But other factors also play a role, such as the overall state of the U.S. economy, a company’s ability to innovate and whether potential customers identify with the ad, he said.

Ecuador’s ad will be aired only in major cities including Miami, San Francisco and New York, where tourism officials hope to target more high-end travelers.


So if you're watching the big game in those markets, make sure you're not in the bathroom when the ad comes on at half time — or it'll be money down the toilet for Ecuador.

Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.