Colorful tiles on the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

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Unhashtag Vienna - The Vienna Tourist Board’s campaign hides Klimt’s Kiss behind a hashtag

Strike a pose in front of the world-famous Kiss, snap away, check the photo, take another, apply colour filter, add hashtag and share! Anyone who wants to see the world these days also wants the world to see them doing so. In pursuit of the perfect snapshot and those all-important likes, many holidaymakers end up losing sight of their surroundings. Rather than savouring special moments, they keep on looking through their camera lenses until their photo story is perfect. Even if their food goes cold in the meantime, but is this really what the ideal holiday experience is all about in 2018? With a knowing wink, the Vienna Tourist Board’s latest campaign tapped into a global phenomenon by promoting the concept of a digital detox.“Vienna offers all the advantages of a modern metropolis, but without the stress factors associated with a major world capital, which definitely sets it apart from its competitors. This is why we are actively encouraging visitors to adopt a more mindful approach to experiencing individual moments and attractions – by all means including selfies and all the rest of it, but less often and with a little more discernment,” explained Vienna Tourist Board’s Managing Director Norbert Kettner. “Our campaign is not about finger wagging, and certainly shouldn’t be seen as us railing against social media. After all, we use it extensively ourselves in our tourism marketing activities to spread our own messages – including in this campaign. What we are trying to do is use a healthy dose of humour to draw attention to Vienna’s relationship with social media, while putting the focus on experiences and moments of enjoyment.”

See Vienna. Not #Vienna: Enjoy the city behind your pics!

Until the end of November a 360-degree campaign was played out in public spaces across London as well as on social media. It depicted travellers who pay more attention to their smartphones than to the attractions in front of them. While the backgrounds featured some of Vienna’s best-known sights, the actual focus was on the bizarre situation the photographer finds themselves in. A large hashtag in the centre of the image obscured the view even more, representing the missed opportunity to enjoy a stay to the full. The central message was: “See Vienna – not #Vienna. Enjoy the city behind your pics!” The images was shown across posters in the London underground stations, as well as on billboards at Waterloo and Liverpool Street train stations. Online target groups have been reached via Instagram, Facebook and through banner advertising. Vienna’s message was also outlined in greater detail at

Provocative – Klimt’s Kiss at the Upper Belvedere covered by a hashtag

One of the most visually striking elements of the campaign was part of a collaboration between the Belvedere and the Vienna Tourist Board. Anyone who went to see Klimt’s Kiss at the Upper Belvedere between 6-8 November, 2018 will have been confronted with a replica partially covered by a big red hashtag. However, to ensure that visitors were not left disappointed at missing out on the world-famous painting, the unobscured original was on show after all, just one room farther along – Vienna Tourist Board employees were also on hand to make sure that no-one missed out on the genuine painting. “We decided to take part in the campaign because as a museum we find ourselves right at the heart of this tug of war between digital communications and art. While we permit photography in our exhibition spaces and welcome contributions on social media, we still want to create an environment where our visitors can experience the artworks in peace. Striking the right balance is a challenge we face every day,” said Belvedere Director Stella Rollig.

Influencers in Vienna on a digital detox

Take fewer photos and experience more – this was the saying adopted by British social media influencers, Claire and Laura, Twins That Travel ( during their trip to Vienna. The pair took up the Vienna Tourist Board’s invitation to spend three days in Vienna and refrain from doing what they normally do best: documenting every aspect of their trip and sharing it with a hashtag. Armed with analogue instant cameras, they took far fewer photographs during their voyage of discovery in Vienna and were able to experience countless moments more mindfully and with a lot less stress. Afterwards they reported back to their fans and followers on their analogue trip to Vienna.

Instant camera promotion from the tourist information office

Upon arrival at the airport, the screens at baggage reclaim greeted travellers with the words: “Welcome to Vienna. Not #Vienna.” In the first district, at the Tourist Info on Albertinaplatz, visitors had the chance to borrow instant cameras for free and give their smartphones a break for the whole of November. Limited to just 10 shots, they ensured there is ample time to focus on enjoying Vienna to the full.


  • Client: WienTourismus
  • Agency: WIEN NORD Werbeagentur
  • Ad photographer: Paul Bauer

Video "Unhashtag Vienna"

Video: Unhashtag Vienna

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