Thank You for Visiting the Islamic Republic of Fred

February 19, 2013 1:31 am 3 comments

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khāmenei, Superme Leader of Iran. Photo: Sajed.ir.

Some countries just can’t catch a break. Blinded by the bright hot lights of international scrutiny, a flock of black sheep within the family of nations is losing its way, repeatedly roaming on to the world’s headlines – for all the wrong reasons.

A point of critical mass has been reached, where the negative images invoked by such words as ‘Iran’, ‘Syria’, ‘North Korea’ – to name but three – are actually causing a well-meaning but misguided international community  to question the very legitimacy of certain governments.

Outrageous.

To counter the bad press, a re-branding is in order. But first the world’s tin pan tyrants and impotent governments need to acknowledge that their brand is no longer achieving the desired result (carte blanche to rape and pillage domestically; traffic in death, drugs and other assorted mayhem internationally).

Then, the goal should be to try and revive the brand with a new look and feel.

Luckily for the neighborhood bullies in our midst, we live in an age transformed by globalization. While most ‘rogue’ (how gauche) nations remain hopelessly analog in a world gone digital, the secret to winning over hearts and minds is in adopting a web 2.0 mindset.

Branding in an online environment has a much shorter time frame than branding through traditional media. With the world’s digitized attention span shrinking to the size of a goldfish, the news moves quickly – and is quickly forgotten.

With a splash of color and catchy new name, there’s no reason to believe that today’s D-list countries can’t reclaim the narrative. Below, are a list of suggested re-branding strategies that are guaranteed to change perceptions, repair relations and keep those pesky United Nations weapons inspectors away.

The Name Game: ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’ conjures up a set of visceral images: wild-eyed Mullahs, foreign embassies being stormed, public hangings, etc. A slight tweaking of the name will serve to lessen such hard-wired knee-jerk associations.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the ‘Islamic Republic of Fred‘. Far-fetched, you say? History begs to differ: ‘Iran’ is little more than a re-branding of what was once called ‘Persia’.

Maximize your Motto: Many countries around the world use mottos to express the characteristics or beliefs that define their citizens  In our dusty and dangerous neighborhood, a well-worded motto can go a long way to diffuse tensions.

For example: ‘Palestine: where human rights, peace, love, understanding, harmony and infinite patience call home.’ Can’t you just feel your muscles begin to relax?

Admittedly,Palestine isn’t a country per se, at least not yet. Still, if it is to become one, a proactive public relations campaign will go far in changing the image of Ramallah as corrupt, ineffective and unresponsive to the needs of the Palestinian people.

In the Nick of Time: Some countries have such a toxic relationship with Reuters, AP, Bloomberg and other leading international news agencies that nothing less than a complete name replacement will suffice. Many nations already have nicknames (Australia: ‘The Lucky Country’, Chile: ‘The Land of Poets’).

Israel, for one, is a country that suffers from chronically negative press coverage and could use a good nickname that would emphasize its geographic insignificance, hence taking back the ‘David versus Goliath’ narrative away from the Palestinians.

Try this one on for size: ‘Israel: ‘The Little Big Heart of the Middle East’. Another possibility is: ‘Israel: God’s Little Rascal.’

Color Me Nice: There’s no denying that color and mood are inextricably linked. Color has long been used to create feelings of coziness or spaciousness. Color selection is a key component of any re-branding campaign. Colors will evoke certain emotions and feelings towards a brand so it is vital to choose a color that represents a country’s identity effectively.

For example, ‘The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ is North Korea’s official name. A bit intense, no? However, couldn’t you picture yourself spending a fun few days in the ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Salmon Pink’?

Another country in need of a makeover is the Syrian Arab Republic, which has garnered its disproportionate share of media coverage in recent months. Now, close your eyes and imagine a lost weekend with that special someone in the ‘Arab Republic of Midnight Blue’.

Glory Days: Not all countries that could benefit from being re-branded are necessarily state sponsors of terrorism. The 2008 global financial crisis is considered by many economists to be the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s and has pushed many countries to the brink of the economic abyss.

Still, there’s a lot more to the Kingdom of Spain than a 25% unemployment. Doesn’t the Kingdom of Penelope Cruz sound more inviting? By accentuating the positive and ignoring the negative, the perception, if not reality, of a recovery will be strengthened.

Storyboarding a Better Tomorrow: None of the above suggestions will make the world a better place. In fact, if successfully implemented, re-branded countries will be able to whitewash their dirty laundry with impunity.

However, by paying attention to public opinion ‘maverick’ nations will be able counteract nasty accusations of human rights violations by simply changing what the world focuses on.

With attention spans shrinking, a re-branding is as easy as…oh, look a squirrel!

This article was originally published by the Times of Israel.

3 Comments

  • No need to ‘change the image of Ramallah”, Gidon. The capital of the State of Palestine is East Jerusalem.

    • Thanks for reading and responding to my piece. Indeed, East Jerusalem is one possible name for a capital of a nation that never was. Problem is, it includes the word ‘Jerusalem’, a constant reminder of that niggling Jewish connection to a once and present capital city of a much maligned but undeniably real nation. As such, should the Palestinians be awarded there very own state, why not distant its brand new capital from any historic Jewish connection? Here are some suggestions: 1) Fatahville, 2)Ban Ki Moon City, 3) Mazenistan, 4)Judenrein, D.C., 5)Jihadelphia.

  • Bathsheva Gladstone

    Brilliant! and astute article… Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the moral of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry has [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.