Nation Branding Lab

A WINDOW INTO HOW CITIES, DESTINATIONS, AND NATIONS LIVE THEIR BRANDS

Tag: Romania

UK Considers “Don’t Come to UK” Campaign

London Sorry! poster

Image courtesy of The Guardian

It has been reported that UK government has a tentative plan to launch a negative advertising campaign to keep away immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania. Immigrants from these two countries to UK are expected to skyrocket after the labor market restrictions are lifted in 2014, and UK hopes to, according to one minister, “correct the impression that the streets here are paved with gold”. The campaign will focus on the downsides of life in UK, delivering the message, ‘Please don’t come here.”

Ironically, London is not only the home of many prominent nation branding consultants with government clients across the world, but also the stage for 2012 Summer Olympics, where UK government spent billions of pounds to improve the country’s reputation.

It’s hard to draw conclusions at this moment, but there is a clear possibility that the tactic may be counterproductive to UK’s brand. The campaign might endanger Britain’s image if it reaches countries other than Romania and Bulgaria. Also, it could even encourage more migrants to come since the campaign’s intention (concealing how great living in UK is) has already been revealed. Moreover, it will show the world that UK government failed to work with Romanian, Bulgarian, and EU counterparts to address their problem using honest, legal measures.

While specifics regarding the advertising are not revealed, The Drum, a marketing and media blog, called for entries for “Britain is Shit” Competition in response to the idea.

Brand Romania

Romania is on par with Australia, New Zealand, and Maldives when it comes to ‘natural beauty’. Countries like this have an edge in tourism marketing because they are already strongly associated with impressive images that tourists admire. Despite this huge advantage, however, Romania’s brand has failed in 2012 both in terms of visual and political communication.

Political corruption and crisis

In 2012, Romania’s international reputation suffered due to President’s impeachment followed by the government’s abuse of power and attempts to subvert the country’s nascent democracy. Moreover, the Prime Minister’s sentence for corruption and his failed suicide attempt contributed to the political instability, which even left neighboring European nations concerned and question whether Romania is going to be the next Hungary.

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Image courtesy of The Economist: Romania’s former prime minister underwent a surgery after a failed suicide attempt

Logo and tagline

Romania’s Ministry of Tourism had decided to go green since a few years ago, and they are still using the same logo until now. Unfortunately, the logo doesn’t give any hint that Romania is a country of high mountains, Dracula or beautiful castles, but of a jungle or lush landscape. The logo looks like it must have been a logo of Madagascar, Bahamas, or Fiji. Moreover, reading the tagline, “explore the Carpathian garden”, I wonder what other way there could have benn to make the Carpathian Mountains sound so far from wild, exotic, historical, and scenic. With these logo and tagline, tourists can never envision Romania’s rich culture and impressive vistas.

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Image courtesy of the Romanian National Tourist Office website

To me, a new logo seems to be a necessity, but this is not what Romania needs to focus on at the moment. Instead, what it needs to do first is to show the world that it has the capability to generate a dialogue between the government and its people, making healthy policy changes that uphold meaningful values such as democracy. Through the rule of law, Romania must reflect the nation’s concern for the individual rights, principle of justice, tolerance for positive changes, and political stability, which is time-consuming and difficult. However, this symbolic and transparent gesture is the only shortcut that will help Romania succeed in communicating with the world audience what the nation and its people are all about and in successfully branding itself in the long-term.

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