by Ronnie Charrier
According to several reports, in White House meeting on January 11, 2018, the president of the United States commented that he would prefer to increase immigration from countries like Norway, rather than from “shithole” countries like Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations.
When told that Haitians would benefit from the proposed immigration deal, President Trump responded “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”, according to The New York Times.
These remarks have elicited furious condemnation from the people (and allies) of those countries, including Haiti. But one Haitian-born creative director, Fabien Dodard, has chosen to take a more lighthearted stance:
he has started a “shithole”-themed ad campaign, using Trump’s words to boost Haiti's international image.
Dodard is raising funds to place the ads on billboards in Washington, DC. Each ad will feature images of Haiti’s landscape, beaches and locals, with headlines like “A majestic shithole awaits” and “Our shithole beaches go on for days.”
Dodard told Ad Week that it the idea for the campaign was sparked by Haitian communities on social media.
“The contrast between the word [shithole] and the images being posted was quite powerful, and that was the seed of the idea. Now, in terms of making a campaign out of it, that was driven by our willingness to change the narrative around our country,” Dodard said.
“We didn’t want to just make Haiti seem like a great vacation spot. This was bigger than that. We wanted to talk about the culture and people and our pride in both as well. That’s why we have executions that aren’t just about the beaches and waterfalls, but feature our native population in a positive light."
It should be noted that the campaign is not connected to the government of Haiti, nor its board of tourism, and is solely based on the efforts of Parkour Studio.
While the official fundraising goal is $40,000, Dodard would happily take more. On the GoFundMe page, he offers this breakdown of how the funds would be used at certain levels:
• With $3,000, we can have one billboard on the interstate.
• With $15,000, we can have one billboard up downtown.
• With $20,000, we’ll have one billboard + some transit ads
• With $35,000, we’ll have 2 billboards + some transit ads
• With $40,000, we’ll have all of the above + some ads in a D.C. mall
• With $200,000, we’ll have all of the above + a half page insertion of our letter in the New York Times. (yes a shithole half page insertion in the NYT is very expensive…)
• With $500,000+, we’ll have all of the above and will invest the rest of the money in tourism projects and infrastructure.
Some print ads have been mocked up in anticipation of the campaign reaching its goal. They are below.
Contributors can make donation via a GoFundMe campaign.