When politics throws you lemons..

There is so much to say about the pan-revolution and upheaval taking place in the Arab world right now, where to start?  Tunisia and Egypt are in the process of winning the right to turn a new page of their history, but this also confronts them with the challenge of  maintaining their respective tourist industries which rely heavily on an intangible asset: consumer confidence.  Tunisia, the first country to oust their autocratic ruler, wasted no time in reassuring the tourist industry, with the government officially reopening the country to tourists only a few days ago.

For me, their new catch phrase “Tunisia, the place to be … now!” on www.ilovetunisia.org exemplifies what a slogan can do best. It shows both integrity and honesty in light of recent events, appeals both to Tunisians -I actually found this slogan on a Tunisian friend’s facebook picture and on activist blogs! – as well as  to  mainstream tourists.

A blog add-on even allows you to declare your flame to Tunisia here. While the blog seems to be receiving mixed reviews for now,  it will be interesting to see how this will evolve as people continue to participate in the ad campaign.

When Poland was in the midst of integrating the European Union back in 2005, people in France were genuinely afraid  that their WCs would overflow with Polish plumbers come to steal local jobs from the French.  The urban myth became so widespread that it attracted the Polish media’s attention.  It didn’t take very long for them to react, with the Polish Tourist Organisation deciding to use it to their advantage.   Not long after, all over France, there were posters of a hunky  plumber posing in front of a Polish church and plaza, inviting the French to come visit, with the plumber proclaiming “(hey frenchies) I’ve got enough pipes to clean here in Poland. Come visit anytime!”

The Tunisian and Polish cases both show that when politics throws you lemons, you can make lemonade out of it, and it will probably taste better than whatever you had been serving before. I guess you can call that resilient branding.

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