Thursday, March 08, 2012

Honorary Paramount Chief Branson or Governor for a Day Cameron?

The people charged with marketing Saipan to the outside world are incredibly bad at marketing Saipan to the outside world. In a world dominated by social media, the destination still doesn't have a major presence on Facebook (70 likes!), Twitter (47 followers!), Youtube, Flickr, Pinterest, and the list goes on. They don't even have a Myspace. And the MVA website looks like it was designed in 1999, right before the tech bubble popped.

With that said, it is no surprise that MVA and the rest of Saipan is letting a great marketing opportunity slip through their fingers. There are four, not one, not two, not three, but four, count them four, unique, individual, different teams competing to be the first person at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 50 years.

A blog about ocean issues called Deep Sea News calls this the biggest deep sea exploration news in 50 years.


James Cameron, director of Titanic and Avatar, and Sir Richard Branson, super rich English dude, have been in the news these last few weeks about their individual teams' attempts.

At the same time, there are people on Saipan tripping over themselves to play the Monument Blame Game. There is new found interest in the Mariana Trench for one reason and one reason alone: The Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

And nobody on Saipan understands this, and the people in charge of marketing the island can't figure out how to leverage this golden opportunity to their advantage. So here's an idea, Governor Fitial and Delegate Sablan should put aside their differences for about 15 minutes and issue a joint challenge: the first deep sea exploration team leader to present a rock from the bottom of the Mariana Trench to the people of Saipan, gateway to the Mariana Trench, will be made an honorary paramount chief of the Chamorro people. That person will also get to be governor for a day, and will enjoy a home cooked meal from both first ladies. The meal will consist of island delicacies Saipan is known for, such as chicken kelaguin, and something made with breadfruit, all served with local tuba.

I'd create a website and a Facebook page and send certified letters to each of the four teams, followed by a press release highlighting the natural wonders of the Marianas. You better believe it would get media attention.

And although I am Saipan's most popular blogger since ever since, I can't do this for you. It has to be the governor's office. I'll even let them take credit when it happens.

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