I personally don’t think the idea itself is that bad, reminding people that we’re not all a bunch of rioting thugs that are going to throw things at them when they come to the Olympics…great, good idea! But many feel the campaign itself is not so great, and they have not been afraid to say so.
Unsurprisingly a Scottish marketing expert Gordon Young has complained that the choice of Glenfinnan Viaduct in Lochaber, made famous by its use in the Harry Potter films, is not Scottish looking enough, stating:
“It’s so bad I almost thought I’d missed something. But the more I look at it, the more I realise it’s as bad as I feared. It just doesn’t work from a Scottish perspective. To show pictures of the Glenfinnan Viaduct as part of Great Britain with a big Union Flag is confusing, because it doesn’t seem like a very Scottish scene.”
A fair point perhaps if the point of the campaign was to show how awesomely and amazingly Scottish Scotland is (like we need reminding), but it’s not, it is to show how ‘Great’ Britain is. I would have thought the use of a beautiful and famous Scottish landscape would be a great way to show that Scotland is a GREAT part of Great Britain (something you would have thought a Scot would appreciate as this is not something the Government are considered good at by the majority of Scotland). It seems his biggest complaint is that the Scottish landscape is not Scottish looking enough and that is an issue that can’t really be rectified, if a Glen in Scotland isn’t Scottish looking enough for him then what is?
Jim Thornton, Executive Creative Director at Arnold KLP, has also criticised the campaign suggesting that “anyone who feels they have to remind people that Britain is great are obviously starting from the point of view that people don’t think it is” before going on to explain the many reasons which may just lead a person to believe that we are in fact no longer great:
“Which given debt, riots, dwindling international and economic influence, union unrest and the perennially laughable attempts of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football teams to make any kind of impression on the world stage, they can be forgiven for thinking we no longer are.”
What he fails to see it seems is that his statement is in fact true; yes the campaign is reminding people why Britain is great because yes unsurprisingly people think we are not. But is this really a bad thing? Surely it is better to remind people why Britain is great rather than simply letting them think we are a nation of rioting, un-influencial, debt laden, bad footballers as he has so kindly pointed out. Criticising the campaign further he said:
“There are so many things that are great about Britain. One of them is our sense of humour and another is our natural self-deprecation, both of which this campaign would have done well to incorporate in spades.”
If sticking an image representing British football and one of a King made famous for being fat and killing a bunch of wives on posters as reasons why Britain is ‘Great’ isn’t both humorous and self-deprecating, I don’t know what is!
If there is anything wrong with this campaign it’s that, at worst it’s a little bland for a campaign which is supposed to ooze greatness. What David Cameron describes as simple, others have suggested is plain and lacking in conviction. It has even been dubbed as ‘blanding not branding’ by advertising guru Steve Henry and I am inclined to agree. While the intention is great the execution is only ok!
What do you think of the ‘Great’ campaign? Let us know in the comments section below!