Honestly, I don’t even know how to introduce this story to you guys. Sometimes, Argentina does the most bizarre things that end up being way more hilarious (or weird) than initially intended. Most often, it works out for the best, we all have a laugh, and then we go on with our lives. But I think that this totally freaky “faux Bruce Willis filmed at iconic Argentine destinations” campaign to draw tourists from the United States down to our neck of the woods is just… Can you believe someone actually got paid for this idea?
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll bring you up to speed. A couple of weeks ago, Visit Argentina uploaded a series of videos under the “Vacation Home of the Brave” tagline to its YouTube channel. Each video focuses on a popular tourist destination in the country – Villa La Angostura (Patagonia), Iguazú Falls, and Buenos Aires – and employs a particularly familiar face as its leading man. With an awkwardly tense voiceover (couldn’t they have found a native English speaker for this part? At least to make it more believable) reminiscent of a Hollywood action-suspense thriller, disaster is suddenly averted as soon as the protagonist realizes he’s just having the time of his fucking life – on vacation in Argentina!
And no, that’s not *actually* Bruce Willis featured in the ads – it’s Pablo Perillo, the actor’s official (?) Argentine body double. The Buenos Aires native realized the similarity he shared with the A-list actor 20 years ago and decided to capitalize on it; he’s been making a living off of it ever since. Hell, the guy even has his own Facebook and Instagram pages called “Doble de Bruce Willis Double” which gives me a mix of vergüenza ajena but also like, you go, Pablo. Way to make the system work for you.
While I am still having a hard time grasping why the Argentine tourism board would think *this* is the way to boost tourism from the United States, Tourism Secretary Gustavo Santos has other ideas. Speaking with Infobae, he said: “The number of tourists arriving from the U.S. to our country is growing year after year. We’ve made strides regarding connectivity with new flights from Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. This drives our ability to receive [visitors] as well as the new experiences that they can find here in Argentina.” This doesn’t explain why Bruce Willis has to be involved, but sure, OK.
Anyway, you’ve gotta give them credit for thinking outside the box. They’re putting what seems to be a healthy budget to good use – perhaps you saw the video of newly-retired NBA legend Manu Ginobili filmed on location at Iguazú as part of the #YouAreWelcome series – and are well aware that tourists who are loaded with dollars could provide a little boost to Argentina’s flailing economy. Whatever it takes, right?