Today, the Crown prince & co returned to Denmark after spending 4 days in NYC attending the business and trade campaign; Creative Nation.  Creative Nation is initiated by the Danish trade organizations. It is an initiative, which according to DI has a “..purpose of increasing the awareness to Danish businesses and their products on the OECD-markets through innovative and creative marketing activities”. (pls note the wording ‘innovative and creative’ in this – I’ll get back to this later on). 

The campaign in NYC consisted of a champagne reception at the exclusive, Japanese department store Takashimay at Fifth Avenue. Until 1st October, the store will be packed with crème de la crème fashion and design brands from DK. Well, that’s nice. Danish fashion really got it going on. Indeed we should be proud of one of our largest exports. And showing this off at one of the most prominent and luxurious streets in the world. Well there you go! Besides the fashion, Danish food had special focus on the conference.  Claus Meyer was invited to do some ‘New Scandinavian Cooking’. Once again, I completely understand why CM is representing our food creativity. Michelin-star rated Restaurant Noma is not something to joke about. CM has a strong and very credible brand value, at least in our own point of view. Now everything has come to an end.

The royalties says they’re tired but satisfied. But the fact is that there hasn’t been one single high-profiled American media represented to write about the initiative.  Not yet, at least. But since actuality is the mantra of the print/TV media I doubt it will happen now that the visit is over. Of course the Danish world press has been circling around the couple like vultures circling over the dead body. They were covering the final press meeting Friday afternoon together with a Swedish guy and an Australian. If you assume that the visit was initiated to make relations, discussions and networking, then I think it’s critical that there hasn’t been a broader interest and PR coverage about the visit, especially from the American media.

What went wrong? If you look at the concept and content of the visit some things bother me: Firstly, you appoint NYC as the host-city. Great choice – NYC is one of the most creative cities on the planet, so there is a perfect match between ‘message’ and ‘channel’. From here it’s marketing One-on-One: You need to do something really, really creative and alternative stuff in order to get the attention. I tell ya, a visit to a department store and some Danish cooking supported by some royalties from a country far, far away (no associations to Shrek intended whatsoever) will not do the job alone. Secondly, you put together an agenda so last season and predictable, it’s crying to the stars. Take for example the visit to NYSE. Pol.dk is actually proving my point in a nut-shell:

“Just before, the Crown Prince and the trade minister, Bendt Bendtsen, had breakfast with the CEO for NYSE, John Thain. Before they arrived at the balcony in order to push the button and ringing the bell, the two Danes wrote in the guest book and talked to the press” (source: pol.dk).

I know that a visit to NYSE is related to many of rituals and standards, but come on. That’s simply not good enough. Why even waste the time? And tell me, how does a visit to a stock exchange fit with the core brand message; a creative nation? And If you take a look at the promotion activities around this initiative, one of the most ‘creative’ things that has been done is the photo upload on flickr (?) Why don’t you take yourselves a bit more serious? Creative Nation is not only about fashion, food and art – and business relations! Well there’s nothing wrong with that, but here in 2007 you really need to think differently and stage it quite differently in order to get the impact. Especially if your country brand promise is The Creative Nation! In the press material they promise ‘innovative’ and ‘creative’ – and that exactly what’s called for, if you want to get the worlds’ attention. In DK we are blessed with some of the most creative and inventive communication specialists, so there’s no excuse. Break conventions and ‘usually do’s’  – then I’ll promise that the world press will listen. 

/Annette

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