Friday, April 28, 2006

New Danish brand: The Multicultural Mermaid

(From H.C. Andersen and the twee Little Mermaid to the "Explosive, multicultural Mermaid)

Denmark has got problems with its brand, the Little Mermaid. It's considered too tootsie-cute, - not least after the cartoons crisis, where Denmark showed its true face to the world as the "freedom-fries" eating pro Americans fighting a postcolonial war in Iraq.

So now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to do something about the Danish "brand", so Denmark will improve its image. The ultimate purpose is to increase exports of goods and services. Economic growth is the ultimate purpose of human and social life.

When you need to improve a nation's image, or brand, what do you do? Do you try to make the Danes better human beings? Instill them with other values in life? Improve democratic culture and decision making. Or perhaps that, after all, the Danes are Christians, even though secularised ones. And perhaps one could improve Christian ethics: Help thy neighbour? - No, of course not, that would be the most foolish thing you could do. No, what you do is, you contact an advertising or public relations bureau. Because selling a country must be very much like selling plastic toys, hamburgers or sausages.

So the Foreign office contacted Advice, which is a large Danish PR company, even though the name sounds a bit Anglo-Saxon. After all, we live in these highly globalising times.

- And what did Advice come up with.

The PR bureau found out that after the Muhammed crisis, half-timbered houses, tin solidiers, the Little Mermaid, the police officer helping the little ducklings across the street, and happy children in kindergartens no longer ought to be the way to sell Denmark, because it conveys an image of an inward-looking, smug nation, and that is not the way in a situation where there is some doubt about whether the Danes know how to be "glocalised" world citizens, cosmopolitan democrats with "respect for other cultures", - or whatever euphemism one will put on them.

Therefore, the new catchwords, according to Advice, should be "innovative", "environmental consciousness" and "social responsible", a country with a "discussion culture", where the serious issues of this world are taken seriously. - Out with the Little Mermaid, - in with the wind mill and Lars von Trier. Denmark is not a nation of cute Tootsies, it is a nation of cosmopolitan innovators.

So much for economic utility. How about the human beings that'll evolve after this re-modelling process. Perhaps they'll not even be post modern glocal citizens, but rather Mr. and Mrs. Anybody.


Blogger Sophia said...

We live in the culture of image and superficiality. people don't want to think, they want symbols conveying messages and beliefs. They don't want to go beyond the surface. This is why images are more powerful today than ideas. You can debate ideas but you cannot debate perceptions and images.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

The best way for Denmark to improve its image would be to adopt the policy on Palestine and keeping an option for negotiations with Hamas open, like Sweden and Norway. And get back to the level of development assistance that the country donated before.

When people want to find their core values, what do they come up with?

1:34 PM  
Blogger Gert said...

Their arse?

Good post...

1:18 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

Is this a kind of British humour ?

6:23 AM  

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