jump to navigation

Using Zebras As A Marketing Tool June 20, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Humor, Travel & Leisure.

We receive travel brochures to places of interest around the globe from National Geographic Expeditions, Alumni Adventures, Sierra Club, and the Trust for Historic Preservation.

These “fund raising” brochures outline enticing sea and land expeditions, rail travel through Europe, and trips around the globe on private jets (which, in case you’re wondering, is NOT a budget friendly way to travel).


We are not on these mailing lists because we are world travelers (we aren’t), or because we have heavily stamped passports (we don’t), but because we contributed money to a “good cause” and someone concluded (incorrectly, as it turns out) that we have money set aside for global travel adventures.

When we receive travelogues describing trips across the sands of the Sahara on camels, cruising around South Pacific islands, or hiking the Scottish Highlands, I flip through the glossy pages to see where they are going, how much the trip costs, and how many zebras they photographed to market the trip.

I kid you not about the zebras.

In the last National Geographic Expeditions catalog, zebras topped the list of wild animals appearing on its pages, with polar bears, whales, and camels as distant runners up.

Even trips to our nation’s capital use zebras as marketing mascots, despite the fact that visitors are not apt to see zebras wandering about the Mall, grazing on grass at the base of the Washington Monument, or kicking up their heels on the front lawn of the White House.

Visitors to D.C. can see zebra stripes behind bars ~ at the National Zoo.

No matter how inviting the destinations, we have never signed up for one of these trips because the cost exceeds our (non-existent) travel budget.

And that’s okay with us.

Instead of making reservations, getting malaria shots, packing, hanging out in airports, dodging airport security, lugging suitcases around in foul weather, exchanging currency, dealing with Montezuma’s Revenge, and negotiating unexpected travel nightmares (such as being grounded due to the unscheduled eruption of a “dormant” volcano), we enjoy armchair adventures via PBS, the Travel Channel, Discovery, and National Geographic.

As an added bonus, many of these shows feature zebras.  (Only some of which get consumed by hungry lions.)

One of the most ambitious travelogue trips I’ve seen ~ Around the World by Private Jet ~ boasted an itinerary spanning 24 days and thousands of miles.


Scheduled stops:  Washington D.C. (to see the zebras!); Lima, Peru; Machu Picchu; Easter Island; Samoa (east of Java); The Great Barrier Reef, Australia; Angkor, Cambodia; Chengdu, China; Tibet; the Taj Mahal, India; Tanzania; Luxor, Egypt; Cairo, Egypt (to see ancient pyramids and the Sphinx); and Marrakesh, Morocco.

Wow!  That is some itinerary.


The cost for this excursion ~ $64,950 per person, double occupancy.  (Add  $8,350 if you want a single room.)

Without the single supplement, it’s a budget-busting $2,706.25 per person, per day.  Until, that is, you read the fine print for Day 8:

Depart for Australia and lose a day crossing the International Date Line.

Exactly!  It’s 23 days of travel for $64,950, or $2,823.91 per person, per day.

We plan to stick to armchair travels ~ at least until my novel, Zelda the Zany Zebra, reaches number one on the New York Times Bestseller List.

How can it miss?

It’s got a zebra as a built-in marketing tool!


Aah . . . that’s better!

Imagine, if you will, that a rich uncle (you didn’t even know about) left you $64,950 in his will.

Ponder the possibilities . . . how would you spend it?

Happy Spending!


1. Don - June 20, 2013

At those prices, and we have the same here, give me the arm chair any time.

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

We’ve never been ones to take out a 2nd mortgage to finance a week-long (or month-long) vacation.

Even if I had money burning a hole in my pocket, I would NOT spend $130,000 for the two of us to fly around the world for 23 days. Instead, I’d put it in my World Domination Fund. 😛

2. Pix Under the Oaks - June 20, 2013

I am not big about traveling so no worries of spending that kind of money.. 🙂

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

There are a few places we’d like to visit ~ mostly in Europe. Let’s see ~ Scotland, Ireland, England, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Morocco, and the Black Forest (for cake!) 😀

3. suzicate - June 20, 2013

Seriously, they use zebras to promote D.C.?

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

National Geographic Expeditions does ~ that’s what prompted me to write this post. I was admiring all the lovely zebras in the pages with “Safaris to Africa” and then I got to the trip to D.C. and saw . . . ZEBRAS! :mrgreen:

4. spilledinkguy - June 20, 2013

OUCH! That’s beyond sticker shock (I seriously can’t even get my mind around numbers like that)! I maybe just a bit jealous. I mean, speaking of ‘National Geographic’… every time I see the photos in one… just SO stunning. Oh, well. 🙂

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

National Geographic is THE magazine for travel photography. Getting a shot printed in there is the pinnacle, eh? Except, of course, for the photographer whose image lands ON THE COVER! Yowsa. What a rush!

5. Andra Watkins - June 20, 2013

I know some people can’t stand the hassles of travel, but I could not exist without it. However, MTM and I travel a lot, and we do it at a fraction of the prices of these trips. We compare prices on flights and use miles when we can. We do not stay at expensive hotels. We travel to places we enjoy in the off-season. We try to find hotels that include breakfast, and then we only eat one other meal a day. We do not shop when we travel; we’re there to see things, not buy things (unless it’s Scandinavia, where a certain architect cannot resist high design.)

Because my books are place-centric, it is also vital that I visit the places in person. I need to know what they smell like, how they sound, what the air feels like. My characters talk to me most in those locations, and I need to hear them.

But, I do love learning about the world through National Geographic. I always find at least 10 new places I want to visit. 🙂

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

You travel like we travel . . . when we travel. We stay at centrally located hotels that are comfy and cozy. We eat one big meal a day. We do lots of walking and very little shopping. We tend to spend more time in free activities and less in tourist traps. Etc.

6. Three Well Beings - June 20, 2013

I am looking forward to counting zebras in the crazy amount of travel offers we get, too, Nancy. I feel very much the same way you do. We could travel, but our budget would be very strained and it isn’t a priority for us at this time. My cousin and her husband are world travelers and continually imply we are just not really living because we don’t go to France every year and haven’t seen Istanbul. When I mention that we don’t take savings for travel they just shake their heads at me like I’m sort of sad! LOL! I’m content! I like my little road trips! 🙂

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

I expect you are content because you LIVE and BLOOM where you are planted. Some people with perpetual wanderlust are looking “out there” for something they’ll never find.

“Wherever you go, there you are.” 😉

7. Grannymar - June 20, 2013

Around the World by Private Jet for 23/24 days might prove even more costly than the estimated at $2,823.91 per person, per day.

It is not the length of the journey that would worry me. One long flight at the same altitude would be no problem, but the number of ‘up and down’s, and changes in cabin pressure, that tour would entail, are a short cut to heart problems and DVT.

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

Good point! I haven’t flown in a number of years, but there may be health risks to traveling around the world via private jet.

I wonder if pilots and flight attendants have health issues from ascents, descents, and the change in cabin pressure?

8. Grannymar - June 20, 2013

I have never read any statistics on heart problems for pilots and flight attendants. They do have regular layovers after a certain numbers of hours.

Ten years ago, I flew on my one and only flight to the US. It was for a rather special family wedding. My doctor gave permission on the understanding that the journey involved only one flight in each direction (I do have a heart condition), fortunately we were headed for Cape Cod and flew into Boston from Dublin (5 hours).

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

I’m glad you were able to attend the family wedding . . . and enjoy a visit to Cape Cod!

9. diannegray - June 20, 2013

I’m so boring that I’d spend the money on my kitchen and bathroom, Nancy!

I’m an ‘armchair’ traveler – Discovery channel all the way 😉

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

How are the kitchen and bathrooms in the RUC? Are they fully functional?

The RUC will NEVER be boring with you in it!

diannegray - June 20, 2013

They’re not fully functional yet – but should be soon (once I get that $64,950!) 😉

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

Fingers crossed that the check’s already “in the mail.”

10. kateshrewsday - June 20, 2013

Zebras, they’re just so purdy, Nancy!
My favourite zebra:

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

That is some afro!

Madagascar created some terrific characters, including Marty and King Julian (“I like to move it, move it!”)

kateshrewsday - June 20, 2013

King Julian. My hero. “Who is that talking? Oh, it was me…”

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

Animated movies are often more entertaining than those featuring people. 😉

11. shreejacob - June 21, 2013

Only because your post was on zebras …I chose adopt a zebra! LOL!
23 days to see those places….nope I wouldn’t do it. Only because it’s too little time and too much money and I wouldn’t want to be rushed by over eager tour guides 😛

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

I agree . . . it’s far too much ground to try and cover in 23 days.

In 1992, BFF and I drove cross country (7,000 miles RT) for a month. Way too LONG to be away from home . . . and way too short a trip to see all we wanted to see.

12. aawwa - June 21, 2013

Good story – I have to admit that the zebras are pretty special 🙂
I would have taken part in the poll but my selection wasn’t there – I would spend a little bit and put the rest in a term deposit where it can grow and be tucked away from temptation 🙂

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

Tucking $’s away ~ that’s what I refer to as my “Global Domination Fund.” 😉

13. bluebee - June 21, 2013

My husband prefers not to do the abroad thing for all the reasons you mention. Me? That $64950 would see me immediately hopping on a plane, first stop: Tokyo 🙂

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

OK. But if I wire you the money . . . it will be contingent on you coming HERE first!

And welcome back, BB. I’ve missed your buzz.

14. ericjbaker - June 21, 2013

Zebra buyers unite!

Wait, I don’t have to feed them and stuff, do I? They aren’t magical like unicorns?

Oh shit. Can I change my vote?

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

Hahaha! They are magical . . . but not like unicorns. And because they are magical, you have been pre-approved to change your vote!

If you’re undecided, please donate it to my World Domination Fund. It’s a bit like a charity . . . without all the “do good” stuff. :mrgreen:

ericjbaker - June 21, 2013

Only if I get to be Minister of Cupcakes in your new regime.

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

Absolutely! And we’ll call you Captain . . . Twinkie! 😀

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: