A City on a Mission of Self-Discovery: Psychologists Study the Impact of the "Linz is Linz" Video

The "Linz is Linz" image video proves that humor can be controversial.

Linz is Linz image video; Photo credit: Linz Tourismus
Linz is Linz image video; Photo credit: Linz Tourismus

Statements such as: "Linz is a bit racist" were intended to attract potential guests to visit the city of Linz. While many applauded the creative effort, there was also outrage and an emotional debate ensued. Psychologists at the JKU conducted an academic study: Did the video serve its purpose? At the beginning of August, a tourism advertising campaign by the city of Linz caused quite a stir. The image video "Linz is Linz" resulted in numerous emotional responses on social media from government and tourism officials alike as well as interested parties. While the responses vary on both ends of the spectrum, what is the final verdict? Does the controversial Linz video created interest in a visit or discourage potential guests from coming?

A study conducted by Assoz. Prof. Barbara Stiglbauer (Department of Work, Organizational and Media Psychology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz) and Dr. Julia Zuber (Office of Student Psychological Counseling at the Johannes Kepler University Linz) took a closer look at the video’s impact by surveying over 500 people between the ages of 16 and 76 who have some connection to Linz. Prof. Stiglbauer explained: "We studied what exactly stuck in people’s minds after watching the video, why some people reacted so emotionally to the messages, and what viewers thought some of the consequences for Linz would be."

An Overall Positive Image
The study found that although the overall responses varied quite a bit, on average viewers believe the video is positive. Julia Zuber added: "Viewers especially appreciated the entertainment value in the humor. On the other hand, the video is considered less as informative or appreciative."

Both psychologists agree that despite the provocative statements, on average people remember the positive aspects. Viewers believe the video is positive for Linz and around 70% have been inspired by the video to visit the Upper Austrian capital of Linz.