After controversial statements saw him blacklisted by Hollywood, it would appear disgraced actor Liam Neeson has found a second career.

The star of Taken has become the unofficial face of Albanian tourism.

The world has seen some very good and very bad tourism campaigns over the years. But the latest offering from Albania might be the most... unusual.

The Balkan nation has sparked confusion with its latest campaign that carries the tagline: "Be taken by Albania" — which has inevitably drawn comparisons to the kidnapping film Taken.


For the few people who haven't seen the 2008 thriller, which spawned a couple of sequels, Liam Neeson plays a former CIA agent whose daughter is kidnapped by an Albanian sex trafficking ring.

On the surface the tourism slogan might seem innocent enough, with the phrase "be taken" used in the sense of "be enchanted" or "be enthralled".

But no. Whether driven by a wry sense of self-awareness or total desperation, Albania's tourism board is absolutely referencing Taken on purpose.

The country has even appealed to Neeson to visit.

"Hey Liam," the main page of the #takenbyalbania official website reads.

"In popular culture, Albania has been coloured as a haven for thugs, criminals, and gangsters. "While we understand that perception might make for good movies, like Taken (2008), it's wholly untrue!"

Are you ready to be taken? The website is petitioning the Taken star to visit Albania. Photo / Supplied
Are you ready to be taken? The website is petitioning the Taken star to visit Albania. Photo / Supplied

The message goes on to describe Albania as a "beautiful and incredibly safe place to visit and live".

"That's why we've started this campaign to personally appeal to famed Taken actor, Mr Liam Neeson," it continues.


On social media, responses are mixed.

To be fair, coming up with a tourism campaign slogan is a tough job. A single catchphrase has to grab the attention of millions of people and convince them to spend their time, and a lot of their money, travelling to whatever place it's trying to sell.

There have been a whole range of approaches over the years. There's the gently rousing approach, like Iceland's "Come and be inspired". There's the cheeky, in-your-face approach, like Australia's "Where the bloody hell are you?".

Then there are places like Nebraska, which played to its reputation as one of America's least thrilling states with the 2018 slogan: "Nebraska. Honestly, it's not for everyone".

There are also ads that fumble a great idea. Earlier this month, Tourism Australia was forced to re-do its new advertisement for its UnDiscovered Australia campaign after a glaring error was spotted in the first version, set in Western Australia.

The original image shows a couple sitting on a hill in Kings Park, WA, while taking in the spectacular view of the Perth CBD at sunset. The caption reads: "Catch the sunset here".

The problem is, the sun in the image appeared to be setting in the east — even though the sun famously sets in the west. The error has since been fixed.