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During a White House meeting on January 11, President Trump stated that immigrants from Norway would be preferable over immigrants from “shithole” countries like Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations, according to several reports.

According to The New York Times, when Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit from the proposed immigration deal, he dismissed the idea and asked: “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”

The president’s remarks provoked swift condemnation from citizens (and allies) from those nations, including Haiti.  One creative, from an advertising agency based in Port-au-Prince, is now using the president’s remarks to promote the image of the place he calls home. 

Fabien Dodard, a Haitian-born creative director, has started a “shithole”-themed ad campaign for Haiti.  Dodard is looking to raise 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 was the presence of the Haitian communities on social media that sparked the idea behind this campaign.

“The contrast between the word 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. 

This campaign is not a Haitian government initiative or its tourism agency; the campaign initiative is solely based on the efforts of Parkour Studio. For Dodard, this campaign is less about Trump and more about addressing the public about the beauty and culture of Haiti.

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,” he said. 

Contributors can make donation via a GoFundMe campaign. 

Photos courtesy of Verdy Verna and Parkour Studio 

H/T Ad Week

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