“Live Your Myth in Greece” is the slogan we hear all across New York City and Athens, Greece. Whether it is on the subway or bus stops they are everywhere. Now you can see this wonderful slogan while waiting for your cheeseburger deluxe at your local diner in New York City or anywhere in the United States for that matter. Yes, that’s right you heard me correctly, while you’re waiting for your cheeseburger deluxe or split pea soup to arrive you can just look at the placemat on your table and you can see this very smart advertisement staring at you in the face.
Can you sense the sarcasm in my voice? Don’t get me wrong I have lived the whole “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” story with my father working at four different Greek diners and my mother telling me every day of my life to find “a nice Greek boy to marry.” But I don’t think, I can say that every Greek-American reading this believes the same thing, that this is not the way to promote Greece. The person responsible for this brilliant idea is the deputy minister of tourism and culture Mr. George Nikitiadis. His idea goes as follows, to grab a bunch of Greek artists put their work on these placemats, which as well know that these very same placemats get crumbled, doodle and wipe off everybody’s spills and leftover food daily. The sad part is not just the idea but that commercial sponsors from Greece, like ΟΠΑΠ and the restaurant association are giving money for this idea to blossom and come alive.
About 6 million euro’s are being given for 7 million throwaway placemats to be printed and distributed to diners across America. It doesn’t end here also plastic throwaway cups are going to be given to the customers of these diners as well. What happened to posters, art exhibits with various Greek or Greek-American artists, concerts and dance festivals to raise money to promote Greece? You can just shoot a commercial in Astoria, Queens in New York City and you have your promotion right there.
I might be the only one angry and annoyed about this “awesome”, “brilliant”, “extraordinary”, and “wonderful” tourism idea but I believe Greece deserves better than throwaway placemats and plastic cups, especially in the times that we are in now.