Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Eagle Has Branded

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is hitting cinemas soon, and Morgan Spurlock is doing his promotional tour. I haven't seen the film yet, but I caught an interview with Spurlock on the radio as I was driving in this morning and it piqued my curiosity.

Spurlock's primary target is corporate branding, of course, and film industry branding in particular, but I'd be surprised if the documentary doesn't have messages that are applicable to nation branding as well. One of the points he made this morning was that advertising is all but inescapable. So in a world where people are constantly bombarded by brands, what can branding campaigns do to succeed and how do they do it?

The premise reminds me of one of my favorite Czech documentaries, 2004's Czech Dream, which follows the process of two young filmmakers launching an elaborate advertising campaign for a product that never exists. If we believe that nations aren't simply geographic spaces, but imaginative spaces -- that is, that the United States isn't simply a large land mass sandwiched between Canada and Mexico, but the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave -- I think both of these documentaries raise some good questions for national branders and PD practitioners: What is a brand? How is it promoted? And how does branding succeed in a savvy, saturated and suspicious environment?

No answers today, just lots of questions, but feel free to weigh in if you've got any ideas.

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