Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →