Whoever thought it was a good idea to put Richard Branson on a poster advertising Great Britain needs to be sent to the back of the coalition classroom now. Yes he may be a great entrepreneur from Britain but I can’t help but think even if I was from anywhere else in the world I would not look at a poster and think ‘Hmmm Richard Branson is from Great Britain, best go for a visit then’.
These Branson bearing posters have been designed to advertise the truly great aspects of Great Britain to our buddies in America. ‘£500,000 for posters?’ I hear you cry and it’s true; it does seem like a lot of money that could be used elsewhere but it seems the coalition believe that these posters will bring an extra four million visitors and create an extra 2,000 jobs by 2016.
It was only a month ago David Cameron was harping on about Britain being a broken society, and the coalition were going to mend this. It appears that the cracks in broken Britain have been quickly plastered over, appearing in a glossy and perfectly presented postcard. But was British society so broken to begin with?
In the wake of the London riots it is hard to present Britain as an immaculate nation, but perhaps we should focus on what makes us such a wonderful country, it may not be our politics, or our economy but we do have some of the most amazing heritage in the world and some of the most beautiful architecture. It is things like this we must look to make Britain Great and this is just what the coalition aims to do with their new tourism campaign.
When you read the initial poster it seems like the coalition had a scramble about for some words to stick on a poster. ‘Green is Great Britain’, well we do have lots of fields. It is only when you read the fine print below you begin to understand what it is all about. Great Britain is green because it is the first truly sustainable Olympics and Paralympics, but will this be the first thought of visitors to the 2012 London Olympics? The two posters in the series which i think make the most striking of points are ‘Countryside is Great Britain’ and ‘Heritage is Great Britain’. The British countryside has some of the most amazing countryside in the world, something that in an ever modernising world should be treasured. British Heritage is also our most captivating characteristic, how many other countries in the world have a history so immensely rich as ours. Although a picture of Henry VIII may not of been the best choice to promote British Heritage, he is definitely one cultural aspect that nowhere else in the world can offer.
British culture is uniquely brilliant and it is this uniqueness that we need to promote. ‘Shopping is great Britain’, you can shop anywhere in the world, but Buckingham Palace is the only place for the changing of the guard. ‘Music is Great Britain’; bands these days do global tours but I bet you can’t gaze upon Loch Ness anywhere else on earth.
I don’t think the Great Britain posters should be used for tourism at all. I think they should be placed around Britain, as a reminder of the amazing country we live in, so that next time David Cameron say’s British society is broken we know that the culture of the Britain we live in is far from broken at all.