To me this is totally fascinating from both a travel perspective and international communications perspective. How does a country see itself? How does it want others to see it? Does it make you want to visit the place? Does it make you go “OMG, that is SO [insert country here]”?
Some countries have fared much, much better than others in the slogan-generating department. Among the nearly 160 featured taglines there are some…
Generic, in an uninspired sort of way: “Bolivia awaits you” — thanks for clarifying that you actually want people to visit. “Simply beautiful” – said Laos. “Me too! me too!” cried literally every other country on the planet, with “Beautiful Bangladesh” leading the chorus (for the record, I am allowing only one country to get away with the “beautiful” tag: “Djibouti – Djibeauty.” Because come on.). “I wish I was in Finland” — Why? “Travel in Slovakia – good idea.” Okay then.
Generic but benign: Surely Motherland can do better than “Reveal your own Russia”? Anyhow, file away with “Croatia – full of life”, “Czech Republic – land of stories,” “Belize – a curious place,” and “Kazakhstan – the land of wonders.”
Universal but emotionally compelling: U.K. with its “Home of amazing moments” is barely squeezing into this category, probably because I am on a perpetual London high. “Japan – Endless Discovery” is better, and works with the country’s image of being Different. “Argentina – beats to your rhythm” lets the tango create an energetic mood. “Latvia – best enjoyed slowly” — a small country’s cute trick for you to stay awhile.
Evocative of a particular idea: USA’s “All within your reach” slogan doesn’t necessarily conjure up images of Disneyland and Yosemite, but it plays well on the idea of America as the land of possibility and opportunity. “Norway – powered by nature” marries the country’s trademarks of technological innovation, vast energy resources and stunning natural beauty. “China – Like Never Before” brings up images of economic boom and revolutionary development, while Canada’s “Keep exploring” — its vast wilderness.
Smartly using a recognizable brand: My favorites are “Greece – an all-time classic”; “Egypt – where it all begins” and “Denmark – happiest place on Earth!” We know right away what specific part of their culture they’re playing on. At the same time, appealing broader concepts are leveraged too, like something being “a classic,” history and heritage combined with a promise of something more, or happiness.
Overly reliant on a recognizable brand: Yes, probably everyone going to Nicaragua or Peru is going to visit the Mayan ruins and the Machu Picchu but it would be great for those countries to spread the brand horizons a little bit. beyond “Heart of the Mayan world” and “Land of the Incas.” At least Tanzania laid it ALL out for you: “Tanzania – the land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti.” But how many people will even understand the reference to Márquez in Colombia’s far-too-smart for its own good “Colombia is magical realism” tagline?
Head-scratchy: “El Salvador – a 45-minute country” — I’m sorry, what? Isn’t that like being a 45 second lover? Isn’t the idea to get people to stay longer and spend some money in the country? Turkey’s “Be our guest” is supposed to evoke Eastern hospitality, I guess, but I can only think of “Beauty and the Beast.” Portugal is “Europe’s West Coast” – Okay? Is there a European West Coast-East Coast beef we need to know about? Dear Morocco, I see what you’re going for with “Much Mor” – but no. Ditto Ukraine with “It’s all about U.”
And even a few Oh REALLY? ideas: France can’t even bother with THIS century’s lingua franca (-_-). “You want to visit France, you better understand our slogan in the original. Oh you don’t like it? We are France, we don’t need you, you stupid tourist!” Which is just so…amazingly French. Then there’s Cameroon, “All of Africa in one country.” I wonder if the other 53 countries on this giant continent might take an issue with that? And look, I LOVED Estonia. It has gorgeous natural scenery, delicious food and whimsical old towns. And while I am also a sucker for alliteration, the compact, flat, heavily rural Estonia is much more Quaint than Epic.