Advertising & Country Branding

Marko Romčević RSS / 20.08.2009. u 16:02







International Advertising festival

Again - the Cannes!

The Ad festival.

The Lions.

Was the Carousel really the best work? Was the "Obama for America" truly something ground-breaking, or was the world simply cheerful to see Mr. Low-Woody-Perennial-Plant-Usually-Having-Several-Major-Stems finally leaving the White House?

This time it's even less about that.

It's about a new way of thinking. And not being afraid to implement those thoughts.

It's about one campaign in particular.

One of the most mainstream campaigns in Cannes - in execution; and one the most innovative campaigns in the world - in concept thinking and creative use of media.

It's about maximizing your resources and investing creativity instead of money.

It's about one Grand Prix. The deserved one.

Challenge - make an Ad

Do you remember any TV work (if those slacks can be called work) for any country? The word "Ad" is deliberately avoided.

You know; those impersonal images of a country's beautiful sea and mountain that fly over TV screen without anything interesting enough that would earn your attention.

How many of those did you see?

Can you be sure which one is for which country?

Was it Cyprus? India? Or Malaysia? Or are those last two actually the same?

No. The first one is "INCREDIBLE", and the second one is - brace yourself - "TRULY ASIA". How inspiring.

Not everything is an Ad.

Something you do not remember is not an Ad.

Something you do not find interesting is not an Ad.

Something you do not like... Well, that one's tricky.

Anyway, some of the things TV stations broadcast for countries are not Ads.

They are more of a meaningful 30 seconds of your life that are gone to waste. The unfortunate lost of your time while you are taking a break from Larry King. Live.

Ad is much more. And exciting.

FFW Vs. Pause

Maybe someone is getting pretty lazy. Not so pretty to look at, though.

People caught up in Country Branding (some for their skills; others against their will and abilities) are not refreshing their knowledge. Some of them. Most of them.

As the communication trends are moving forward, they are holding a Pause button.

Don't they all just wish the comeback of those happy days when only few had some (rather poorly made) communication? Then, they wouldn't have thought of any new approaches.

First advertisers didn't need creativity. Why would they?

Back then, when someone tried to publicize any goods or services, all they had to do is - merely declare it!

Since they were the only one(s) who were saying anything, of course everybody (or a figure close to everybody) would be willing to listen.

All you had to do is say - Hey, I'm here!

As the time passed, more and more individuals, companies and parties (and countries?) reported their whereabouts.

Soon, they were all here. Or (t)here.

Media space became cluttered. And when everyone is telling more-less the same thing (similar at best), people tend to care - not more, but less. And less.

Soon, many were forced to say the same thing - in a different way.

Then - the creativity came.

And Advertising.

After that - it became not a matter of what, but more how and to whom are you saying it.

The times when all you had to do was to have an announcement was gone. Way gone. Luckily.

Solution - the difference between wasted money and Advertising

The similar scenario is approaching Country Branding.

What happens if one takes some of those clichés out of a country branding promotions which some (again, unjustly) call Ads, and puts them side by side, with just one "minor" alternation?


Client: Others



Underwater shots...

Stunning beaches...

Bright photography...

Nice music...

Idea: none.

Result: beautiful images (almost?) no one cares about.

Client: Queensland Tourism board (Island Reef)


Same sun (obviously)...

Similar underwater shots...

Other (or are they the same) stunning beaches...

Same bright photography (can't go wrong here)...

Nice (or less nice) music...

Idea: "The best job in the world"

Result: A truly inventive prize contest that grabbed a worldwide attention.


First one is beautiful. Perhaps. But is it interesting enough? Certainly not! Nor different.

So, why is a second idea so astonishing? Because it is THE IDEA. An Advertising concept in the sea of meaningful TV spots saying the same thing - NO THING.

What were the steps they (the Agency) took?

They made the same looking film. Yes, but instead of announcing "beautiful untouched nature" like many (too many) others, they announced a call for entries for the world's best job!

And the IDEA led the way.

How come are the two visually same TV commercial so different in their meaning?

If someone doesn't see the diversity between nice pictures without a theme, and nice pictures all wrapped up in a creative concept, it's sad. Very sad.

One is wasted money. The other is generating millions of dollars of free media time.

Today, the winner is active on Twitter, leads a Blog, writes reports, posts photos... All in a service of promoting the Island. And Queensland. And Australia. And the rest of the world can see it.

The Ad agency is called (why not mention their name - they've earned it) CUMMINSNITRO. Their Brisbane office. Now, why are the Aussies that good in this? Cause they think things through. Thoroughly.

People want something unorthodox. Again, luckily.

Best job in the world = Best campaign in Country Branding

That's why the campaign for the Island Reef was as astonishing.

In the field that was satisfied with the level of (miss)achievement someone realized that relying (just) on a simple boring publicité on CNN can no longer bring in the results.

Well, you can try. But prepare to be disappointed.

That may have worked a decade ago (if then). Today? Hardly.

They had to be imaginative.

So what they did? They did Advertising. Successfully.

And bravely.

So, when you hear it hasn't been done before, that is probably the exact reason why you should do it!

Be creative

No matter if you hop on an island (like people from Bahamas seem to want us to think they do on a daily basis), or you use ChinChilli day as an excuse for a Vegas weekend, you have to draw some attention.

That brings this text to a question (and an answer if One reads carefully) - does the campaign have to be something interesting just in the execution (great TV, radio or print ad), or can the creativity come from the concept above it?

The outcome

The campaign was successful.

People debated about it: "Is it real?" "Can I apply?" "Is it..."

It must be some really special island. Or the campaign was the special one.

People sang, performed, laughed, made up stories, some even tattooed their body just to get the job (or did they?), and showed a desire to be a part of an island most of them never heard about.

Website crashed, of course. The proof that great ideas are not always followed by IT support.

All major global networks reported about it, newspapers, all over the internet...

A single campaign started a worldwide daydreaming of a new life.

After this, one question remains: why wasn't this done by some country much closer to travelers?

It would be even better. Maybe more people would actually visit. And leave a decent portion of their wallets in that country...

But they didn't do it, so it's meaningless to talk about it. Or is it?

You are good as much as they duplicate you

It took only one idea (carefully executed) to initiate such remarkable human interaction, debates, global attention and media coverage. And some copycats.

Strangely enough, subsequently to the success of the Island Reef campaign, an interesting offer suddenly emerged - a Witch impersonator is needed at Somerset tourist attraction Wookey Hole caves, England; and they were willing to pay $80,000 a year.

Maybe someone hoped that copying the original may bring him the same results. Not likely!

One has to think of the next hot thing. What will it be? Just be creative. And think advertising.

Others will follow. But who will lead?

Classifieds: Country branding seeking Ad industry

Country Branding needs new way of thinking. New approaches. New contact points. And good old creativity.

So, Country Branding needs Advertising.

Depending on a simple Hey, we're here! campaign to draw some attention is a suicide.

Utopists are nice people. The ones that are still alive.

Unless one has unlimited funds and likes to pay things that can be obtained for free, one has to appreciate creativity's ability to generate free media time.

Ad men think differently. Their job is to find a better way to get the results.

Today, most countries have TV announcements on global networks. They are all look-alike. If not now, soon the responsible ones will notice they will have to start to differentiate. And draw attention by smaller funds.


Simply. Be creative.

Then things will become interesting.

Here's the campaign...

Komentari (3)

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libkonz libkonz 19:00 20.08.2009


Genijalna ideja!
Kreativnost pobedila velike budžete!
njanja_de.manccini njanja_de.manccini 20:37 20.08.2009

Re: Definitivno

ma super je ideja. ima blogera koji su se prijavili za taj poso. ne znam sta je bilo dalje.
ma ovo nije lose da se uradi za Srbiju. neka super reklama da se uradi jer imam Srbija talentirane ljude, kreativne, mlade, stare...
da dodje neko da cuva Srbiju tako i da bude placen. da se podeli po regionima da ne bude prevelik posao. das sumadiju nekome, presevsku dolinu drugome, niski okrug nekom trecem itd. salim se naravno....a mozda i ne
principessa_etrusca principessa_etrusca 08:56 21.08.2009

Re: Definitivno

ma super je ideja. ima blogera koji su se prijavili za taj poso. ne znam sta je bilo dalje.
ma ovo nije lose da se uradi za Srbiju. neka super reklama da se uradi jer imam Srbija talentirane ljude, kreativne, mlade, stare...
da dodje neko da cuva Srbiju tako i da bude placen. da se podeli po regionima da ne bude prevelik posao. das sumadiju nekome, presevsku dolinu drugome, niski okrug nekom trecem itd. salim se naravno....a mozda i ne

Пријавило се 34,000 кандидата из целог света, а посао је добио тридесетогодишњи Енглез из Хампшира, сасвим пристојна особа са интересом за екстремне спортове, и у Аустралију отишао са девојком.

Наравно, ово је била одлична кампања, нарочито када се узме у обзир сав бесплатан публицитет који је ишао уз њу, јер ретко која телевизија није имала макар један прилог о овом врло оригиналном огласу за посао.

Међутим, копирање овакве, сасвим оригиналне кампање никако није препоручљиво, чак када би се радило о некој сличној дестинацији, т.ј. тропском острву које мање-више сви на планети виде као земаљски рај, из простог разлога што копија никада није исто што и оригинал. Послодавац који не уме да смисли и нацрта (или макар да изнајми добру креативну агенцију и прихвати оно што они смисле у његово име), већ уме само да прецртава, представља себе у прилично лошем светлу.

А за Србију би вероватно била примеренија кампања регрутовања еколошких ентузијаста да чисте пластику и ђубре из иначе лепих српских предела.



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