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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Defying common sense

A few years ago an external agency created the 'Defy the EVeryday' brand identity for Dominica. Part of the reason it failed so badly to capture the essence of what Dominica is, is because the agency didnt really know Dominica at all.

There is no hidden code in that commentary. Its just so. The two last agencies who did substantial work for Dominica were from New York and Miami, and the new PR agency is from Minnesota.

Dont get me wrong, most tourism accounts need agencies in foreign markets to target the demographies they need. At least 8 of our IN Network counterparts have major tourism accounts we can learn from and collaborate with.

However most tourism accounts also need a regional / local agency to help define what our countries are, back to those same agencies. Instead the local model in tourism is to consider the local agencies as grunt shops and to deal with international agencies directly. The personalities of international agencies is that they enforce their identities and camapaigns on Caribbean clients much easier than they can on their 'in market' clients or on agencies. Hence you get some very odd campaign paths.

It is for the same reason why the most successful regional companies actually have a global agency, a media booker, and a regional / local agency. And it isnt about having more money either. Its about applying context to identity.

This reminds me of the first attempt of the mascot for the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007. It was a mongoose, which is considered a pest in the region. The agency had to quickly withdraw it. They were of course an Australian agency.

When they met a group of us in Jamaica for the creative agency briefing they talked forcefully about how they were in charge (and they were unfortunately). That WC summed up how much they, and their clients, ultimately the ICC / WICB, were in charge. Truth be told, the World Cup in 2007 was eminently forgettable. And it was so partly because it applied the Defy the Everyday model.

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