An Ad Campaign For The Geographically Impaired

The inhabitants of Bucharest are tired of tourists confusing their city with the Hungarian capital:

Following a trend started back in 1992 by Michael Jackson, so many musicians playing Romania’s capital have mistaken it for Hungary’s and come on stage shouting “how are you doing, Budapest?” that locals have moved on from amused indulgence to being seriously pissed off. …

To fight back, Romania’s capital has launched a “Bucharest not Budapest” campaign this summer, to encourage visitors to learn the difference between the two cities. Bankrolled by a Romanian chocolate manufacturer, the campaign features videos, T-shirts, airport billboards and a newly customized airport shuttle – the campaign has even installed a “Welcome to Not Bucharest” sign at Budapest airport.

It’s not hard to see why Bucharestians find the confusion irksome. Their city is the European Union’s 6th largest, a national capital with over 2 million inhabitants, a fine cultural scene and a remarkable if mixed-up cityscape of historic buildings. While it doesn’t come close to matching Budapest’s grand opulence or tourist numbers, Bucharest is a fascinating place that doesn’t deserve to play second fiddle to its distant neighbor just because its name is similar.