April 23, 2007

Minor country attached

Here’s a fine little English brand making the most of Saint George’s Day, something that will get bigger over the coming years. With the inevitable dissolution of the United Kingdom – Scottish and Welsh independence is a certainty, in my opinion – the England brand will become increasingly important.
The myth of Saint George was imported by the Norman conquerors, supplanting the old Anglo-Saxon patron saint, Edmund. The dragon could equally represent the conquered race, or the muslim foe faced by the crusaders. Either way, Saint George’s dragon-slaying antics are about as real as the concept of an English race (bits of Celt, Briton, Roman, Saxon, Dane, Norman, Dutch and so on) which will no doubt be promoted by the low-brow tabloids currently obsessing over Diana and immigration.
God knows we get enough national branding on St Patrick’s and Australia Day – but it will be fascinating to see which international brands take up the red cross every April when we eventually end up with a new bank holiday.
My own view is that, freed from the Union, England will not be as important as it thinks, because there’s a far more glamorous geographic entity to consider.
London.
It’s the world’s greatest city – with a minor country attached.
If Englishness is a hard enough concept to define, marketers are on firmer ground with its capital. According to Oxford Economic Forecasting, London generates 30% of the UK’s (that’s England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland roped together) GDP. Consultants PWC have just elevated London to the world’s 4th-largest economy among world cities. That’s two places above Paris, the only other European city in the top 10.
Anyone who lives here knows it’s a multi-cultural melting pot. There’s a streak of evil that runs through London’s 2,000 year history that gives it a lively edge. London’s squalid and glamorous, ugly and sexy, refined and barbarous.
Maybe London should have its own patron saint's day. Imagine the fun that advertisers could have with that.

2 comments:

Jetpacks said...

Bring back the City State!

FishNChimps said...

cos we're all in a right state!