Funny City Hall campaign aims to attract Londoners during Olympics


Want to try out some “Kafkarate”? Or compete in “Freestyle Kissing”, followed up by some “High Heel gymnastics”? The witty new campaign by Prague City Hall to attract Londoners, trying to escape the stress of the Olympics this year, is based on paraphrasing many Olympic disciplines.

When your city has the honor of hosting an event as important as the Olympic Games, you might think you’d be doing your best to get tickets. However, one of the latest studies has shown that up to 50% of Londoners really want to escape the chaos that the Olympics will bring to the city, by traveling abroad. Prague City Hall is trying to grab this opportunity by launching a funny advertising campaign for Londoners to visit the Czech capital. The campaign cost around 2.4 million crowns and was advertised in London. It also has its own website:, which offers information on many of the cities museums, sights, bars and shopping centers.

When I asked tourists on the street what they thought of Prague and whether they could imagine Londoners coming here during the Olympics, many of them thought it was a good idea.

London girl: “Yes definitely because it’s going to be completely packed with tourists and it might be better to get away and here’s a nice place.”

Older Londoners: “We only live about eight kilometers from the Olympic stadium, so there will be significant traffic restrictions and problems with public transport. There may be people who aren’t interested in athletics and sports in general.”

Do you think they could get some people who will want to get away from London?

London man: “It’s possible yes. Not everybody will want to watch the Olympics.” -

But many Prague hotel owners are not happy with the way the campaign was devised and think it could have been advertised better. Petra Daliborová, the spokeswoman for Marriott Hotel in Prague, is skeptical the campaign actually worked.

“Well actually we checked the reservations and unfortunately we didn’t see any huge or dramatic increase of the bookings during this campaign from British customers. I would recommend doing this campaign more in advance than now.”

Prague City Hall spokeswoman Tereza Králová admits that there was no cooperation between campaign organizers and local hotels, but points out the Prague Games campaign was never intended to be more than a small, low budget effort. In her view, letting Londoners know that Prague is one of the places they can escape to during the Olympic rush was a success. She also disagrees with some of the figures presented:

“This was just a small, low budget campaign and according to the server “” and according to the website the number of reservations of visitors coming to Prague has increased a lot. We started on the 21st of May, so I think we have devoted enough time until August to attract people to come here.”

While in 2005 the number of English tourists in Prague was as high as 600 thousand a year, today it is less than half that; and so, while Prague might be able to scrape some Londoners over during the Olympics, as far as overall tourist numbers go, things aren’t looking especially bright. City Hall claims it is adjusting to new trends, is confidant that things will pick up and that this will certainly be reflected in statistics by this time next year.