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Be Taken by Albania -
Albania's Latest Controversial
Tourism Campaign

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This article is about Albania’s latest tourism campaign – Be Taken by Albania.

Hollywood movies influence the way we see success, love, politics, wealth and other facets of our lives.

We dream of meeting our soulmate as it happens in Serendipity. Some people believe our world as we see it is not real, it is only a construct of our minds much like the world depicted in Matrix.

Here’s another way in which widely successful movies contribute to the way we see our world: the depiction of other countries and people.

These movies convey a certain image in such a powerful way that it becomes the trademark of the characters’ nationality in real life.

Not all Italians have links to the Mafia as in The Godfather. Not all Indians are poor coming out of the slums as depicted in Slumdog Millionaire.

One country has decided to take matter into its own hands and do something to change the way Hollywood had depicted its people.

This country is Albania and the movie in question is the famous Taken where Liam Neeson’s character fights with the Albanian criminals who have taken his daughter.

Albania’s campaign to change the perception of Albanians is called Be Taken By Albania.


Here is the presentation on the campaign website:

Hey Liam…

In popular culture, Albania has been coloured as a haven for thugs, criminals, and gangsters. While we understand that perception might make for good movies, like Taken (2008), it’s wholly untrue! In reality, Albania is a beautiful and incredibly safe place to visit and live.

That’s why we’ve started this campaign to personally appeal to famed Taken actor, Mr Liam Neeson. Watch the video and join us by signing the petition to get Mr Neeson to Albania and Be Taken by its beautiful nature, hospitality and eternal traditions.

The campaign has the support of official organizations such as the Albanian Ministry of Tourism, Swiss Entrepreneurship Program, Tirana International Airport and European Delegation to Albania.

The campaign’s video features average Albanians, public persons and government officials, all inviting tourists to be taken by Albania.

The launching event took place near the runway of Tirana International Airport and included statements from Luigi Soreca, the EU Head of Delegation, Adrian Maître, the Swiss Ambassador in Albania, Blerina Ago, campaign founder and Blendi Klosi, Minister of Tourism and Environment.

The creative idea for the campaign came from the Swiss Entrepreneurship Programme which is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. Mr Klosi said this campaign is designed to help Albania achieve its 2019 target of 10 million tourists.

Campaign details:

Campaign name: Be Taken by Albania

Website: Be Taken by Albania

CTA: Are you ready to be taken?

Hashtags: #takenbyalbania #liamneeson

Campaign goals:

  1. Convince Liam Neeson to visit Albania via a petition;
  2. Promote tourism in Albania by showcasing the country’s tourist attractions; the website includes links to Active Albania Adventure Tours, an Albanian tourism operator.

Social media: YouTube video (Taken By Albania – Liam Neeson, 338,375 views, 1,068 comments), Facebook Page

Digital tools: videos

Target: 10 million tourists

Media features: The Telegraph, Fox News, Lonely Planet, Daily Mail, etc

Because the campaign directly references the movie, its media coverage hasn’t been positive.

The slogan has been deemed as “this year’s most bizarre one yet” (Lonely Planet) and “a contender for the world’s worst tourism slogan” (The Telegraph).

The overall campaign is called “cringeworthy” (Travel Weekly) and the creatives behind it have been accused of taking it a step too far.

The Telegraph decided to test this campaign and invited its readers to take the following quiz:


At the end of the day, the experts’ opinions are just that – opinions. What matters most is whether tourists like this campaign enough to visit Albania.

And by the looks of it – the campaign could be successful.

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