Not-so-Secret Places

Is it all marketing nonsense?

Posted by Mark Armstrong 11th June 2016

There seems to be a growing trend to call stuff 'secret' in order to give it an air of exclusivity; using the word secret as a marketing tool to make people think they are somehow special in being let in on some secret product, place or activity.

The word secret when used to describe something, normally means something not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others. But the trend seems to be to advertise or market something as secret, surely a contradiction in terms.

A local well known garden, open to visitors, is marketing their garden as a 'secret wedding venue' with a big banner. In the UK we were, up to fairly recently, bombarded with adverts for a company called Secret Escapes. Advertising to millions to tell them of secret offers and locations, well it's not so secret now is it? The BBC, have made another series of a programme called Secret Britain, where we are shown places that not many people know about, well at least until they've watched the programme. Maybe it should be called Not so Secret Britain, Anymore.

People that have looked through our walking tours may have noticed our 'secret' holidays: Secret Burgundy - Chardonnay Vines & Historic Villages, Secret Provence: Tour of the Baronnies or Queyras - Best Kept Secret in the Alps. So yes, I admit we have marketed or at least titled some of our holidays with the adjective 'secret.' In this sense we are doing, I suppose, what everyone else is doing and that is trying to convey the message that these areas are lesser known. In fact they are lesser known parts of what are well known areas.

It is the growing trend of marketing people to have to tell everyone how exclusive something is even in what is an increasingly globalised world with the interconnectivity of the internet and social media. It is the spoon feeding of information in such a way that tells people what they should like, discover or listen to that seems so overly contrived. But it is still possible in this world to discover your own likes, interests and identity.

For example, in the UK it's possible to seek out your own special areas and walks. Using historical information and maps, you can look for footpaths that would have been important in the past, but were never tarmacked and turned into modern roads and look for their destination or reason for being used. You can discover Droves, used to move livestock across great distances and find out their destination or which market town was the most important for selling livestock at the time. You might find link paths that go between villages or between villages and the nearest church. You might find paths that also mark the parish boundaries or walk where the Roman legions marched and where the Saxons followed. So go look for clues on your map and seek out some 'secret' locations of your own.


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