Pacha Steps On Cultural Toes
While its intentions may have been good, the execution of Pacha’s latest promotional video has caused controversy and offended locals in Ibiza. The Ibicencos are not happy with the way their culture and religion was portrayed in a marketing video entitled ” The Spirit Of The Island” which was released earlier this month. The predominant religion of Ibiza is Roman Catholic and while the island has an image of freedom and tolerance, the Ibicencos can be very traditional in their ways. To the Ibicencos, it’s all about respect of each others beliefs and differences, so when Pacha superimposed their logo onto that of a venerated Saint, many felt they had crossed a line in good taste. To compound their misjudgement, they also disco styled the islands native dance, the Ball Pages, which has angered the dancers used in the video, who claim their art was taken out of context and glamorised for commercial gain.
The cleverly edited videos’ intended aim was to help promote the islands culture to the World but while it has backfired on them locally, outside of Ibiza its most likely not an issue. The new owners of Pacha, Trilantic Partners, have exposed the lifestyle, music and fashion brand to a wider world audience, using American styled marketing and associating with big players in the music industry like David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Calvin Harris, Afrojack, Carl Cox, Sven Vath and Solomun. The “Spirit Of The Island” video is a quirky piece of marketing featuring the Ball Pages, Es Vedra and the islands indigenous fishing and farming culture. Its a modern twist on traditional Ibiza, which Hi Ibiza implemented to much better effect, promoting the island with a series of quality videos on local institutions.
To be fair to Pacha, the club has been trying to do things the right way, offering free parties to residents and promoting the islands natural beauty, but locals now recognise it as a horse of a different colour, as this oversight would not have happened under the stewardship of the Urgell family. The contervrsary comes in the wake of online criticism Pacha received for its new CD Album which upset old fans of the brand with a seismic shift from its traditional Balearic sound to EDM. On the ground in Ibiza, Pacha has been enjoying well attended parties but its spending a lot of cash on big DJ crowd pullers to do so.
The new Pacha is now a slick commercial vehicle marketing to those who associate and relate to the Ibiza brand name. Some people have referred to the refurbished club as Las Vegas on the inside and Ibiza on the outside. That assessment may not be too far off the mark, but we are now living in a changed environment and people’s tastes have moved away from substance to digital style. I don’t think there is any going back to the old Hippy vibe of Pacha, but those now in control of its direction, really need to retain the support of people in Ibiza and not alienate itself from local culture. Those that have done so in the past, have not enjoyed much luck on the island.