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by Padraic Gilligan, Vice President Ovation Global DMC and Vice President, Industry Relations, MCI

Guerilla Marketing

The past weekend in Europe was dominated by Sweden’s spectacular hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest and Denmark’s victory with Emmelie De Forest’s captivating performance of “Only Teardrops”. Already, apparently, both Herning and capital Copenhagen have signaled their desire to host the 2014 contest. The Eurovision is really a destination marketers dream: you get to showcase your country for almost 3 hours before a live audience of 125 million. The clever Danes here at IMEX Frankfurt have acted extremely fast and are showing De Forest’s winning song on their stand, expertly leveraging the extra profile created on the back of Saturday’s win. But the Danes have always been good marketers generating demand for their destination with a combination of brilliant visual communication techniques and superb, consistent execution.

Minority Report at IMEX

Denmark at IMEXI love the Danish stand here at IMEX Frankfurt. It’s compact and functional with immense visual appeal. It’s got futuristic technology: 9 plasmas combine to create a giant interactive screen with super-cool Minority Report style navigation. It gives access at the flick of a wrist to content, images and videos about the destination and sets them in a clear geographical context; It’s got classic Danish design: two Arne Jacobson designed Swan chairs in contrasting colours provide both aesthetic titillation and functional seating space. It’s got sustainability: two orange coloured High Nelly style bicycles are displayed over the reception area along with a further visual of a stunning landscape. Overall the stand repeats and highlights key aspects of Denmark’s brand proposition building on and around Denmark’s reputation for innovation, strong technology and sustainability. Big kudos and respect to Bente Norskov, Marketing Manager at Visit Denmark who drove the concept.

The Scream Theme

Norway at IMEX ScreamNorway, too, has creatively build its trade presence this year around a cultural milestone which has been receiving quite a lot of global publicity in recent times. Painted by Edvard Munch 110 years ago The Scream has become an icon of the modern movement in Art. One of the 4 originals created by Munch was sold last year for a world record $120m. Setting aside the much loved, lauded and iconic Naked Man – he’ll be back next year once he loses the love handles, Anne Rodven of Visit Oslo tells me – this year Norway is still “powered by nature” but pivoting on the scream theme. This year you can discuss your ski incentives in Lillehammer or your corporate meetings in Oslo against the backdrop of Munch’s man lost in existential angst. And if by chance you find the prices are too high you can take your frustrations to the specially customised scream box and “scream yourself to Norway”. Again huge respect to Bente Brantland Holm and partners at Visit Norway for excellent destination marketing.  According to my sources at IMEX, however, the screaming competition is only on after 5pm when everyone has started moving towards the Belgian booth for a much anticipated beer.

The Curious Case of a Disappearing Country

That is, of course, if they can find the Belgian booth. I know I couldn’t. Neither could Joe who had potential business for the destination. “Let’s meet in Belgium”, I said, “and I’ll connect you with my Ovation colleague Hugo Slimbrouck.” I was en route to the European section of the show floor when the text arrived. “There’s no Belgium” it said. “Apparently it’s been abolished”

Join Padraicino in his next blog as he investigates the curious case of a disappearing country

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