A world of slogans

The website justtraveling.com have compiled the above intriguing map showing the brand colours and slogans used by national tourism boards across the world: the original, interactive version is here, and is well worth a look.

While the choices of brand colour are certainly intriguing, varying as they do from the logical (Canada goes for the red of its flag, New Zealand for the all black look) to the puzzling (why did Ireland pick royal purple when most people associate the country with green, and the US go for turquoise instead of red or blue?), as a wordy person I found my interest piqued more by the slogans chosen to promote each country.

A slogan is a tricky thing to write: it has to sound good when spoken and look good when written, be memorable and aspirational, and encapsulate your brand identity, all in only a handful of words.  Coming up with a slogan for an entire country, with its diverse regions, people and cultures, is even harder.

It is perhaps not surprising, then, that so many of the slogans are unimaginative to the point of bland repetitiveness, following the formula of adding the country’s name to a suitably enthusiastic adjective: Inspiring Tunisia, Amazing Thailand, Fascinating Nigeria.  After so much hyperbole,  Jamaica’s appropriately lackadaisical The Home of All Right comes as quite a relief!

Green leaves and red flowers, with a view to a tropical coastline
Looks more than ‘all right’ to me…

There are some good, inventive slogans out there, though.  Amongst my favourites:

The Heart-Shaped Land

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The country isn’t really heart-shaped, although the images on the website have a good go at trying to convince you it is!  The ‘heart’ also refers to the country’s location, in the centre of Europe, and conveys the idea of a friendly, welcoming country.  This is really quite a clever slogan.

Magical Realism

Colombia

‘Magical realism’ is a style of fiction writing that originated in South America, with the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez one of the most renowned magical realism authors*.  If you know that and get the reference in the slogan, you feel like an informed and knowledgeable person; ‘magical’ is also another of the popular words to describe a country so it works on that level, too.

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia (obviously)

The song Georgia on My Mind was about the southern US state rather than the country, but if you’ve got a phrase that is already well-known and widely recognised, why not borrow it for your slogan?

Come to Where It All Started

Mozambique

One of the key aspects of a successful slogan is the identification of the unique ‘thing’ that you are offering.  Mozambique’s slogan illustrates this nicely, being an elegant summary of the country’s almost-unique position as the birthplace of humanity.   (Ethiopia can make a similar claim, and does so in its slogan, Land of Origins.)

It’s All About U

Ukraine

OK, it’s a pun, but it’s distinctive and memorable, and I’m a sucker for a good (bad) pun.

Of course, it’s not just national tourism bodies that have slogans: many regions, states and cities have them too.  Please share some of your own favourites, whether good, clever, funny, or just amusingly bad!

 

* I read García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude when I was in my late teens, and was blown away by both his writing style (albeit in translation) and the inventiveness of the magical realism genre.  It’s an amazing novel and well deserves its status as a classic.

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