Does the city need it? A good PR effort usually isn't a bad thing for a city, but Venice is, of course, a rather well known little place. The article reports that the goal of the advertising campaign is to "attract a higher quality of tourist, while moderating overall numbers, which at times threaten the fabric of the fragile archipelago. ". The phrase "a higher quality of tourist" is an amusing one, if you think about it. That'll be one renting out some of the empty palazzi (hmm, do renter protection laws apply to EU citizens as well?), hanging out with the Save Venice crowd (which largely seems to be composed of the very rich, and the not-very-rich-but-nobly-titled), and splashing out at the Casino. Bonus points for those who throng to the Biennale for the right reasons.
Save Venice is based in New York. (I think some of the others are too, but I forget offhand). Surely it's not entirely coincidental that the winning entry in this competition will be presented in New York, come December. (Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Save Venice. But it really is based in New York and hosts lavishly elite and expensive parties).
If the city really wanted to even out its tourist flow, it would encourage more visitors to come in November or February. The place is delightfully vacant of the crowds those times of year. Perhaps it could find a way to turn aqua alta into some sort of exotic tourist experience?
(Speaking of the Veneto, the whole series of grocery store product bombings there reads like a joke (and has been going on for years now): a tube of tomato paste exploding; another in a jar of mayonaisse; most recently, a jar of nutella starting to make ticking noises as soon as it was opened. Except its serious. One woman lost a few fingers to one of these explotions, and the perpetrator hasn't been caught, last I knew).
(Also on the subject of people who live in the Veneto, the Ragbrai riders are nearly done with their trek from the Missouri to the Mississippi rivers. Good luck!)