The PR trade press is reporting that the Albanians are looking for an image makeover and have hired no less a figure than Alastair Campbell to help them. It seems that the Albanian Prime Minister wants to rid the country of its image as a corrupt and crime ridden ex communist state and instead promote it as a destination for tourism and investment.
Alastair Campbell has been hired to help the Albanian Government select a PR agency to rebrand the country. It’s interesting to note that Campbell seems to enjoy a high profile internationally, while at home his reputation continues to be damaged by memories of the “dodgy dossier” in the lead up to the Iraq War.
I can’t help remembering the much under rated 1997 movie Wag the Dog in which Robert De Niro plays a spin doctor tasked with deflecting public attention away from a sex scandal involving the President and a pretty young White House intern. He achieves this by manufacturing a fake war with Albania!
As I have said in previous blog posts, there have been a number of successful rebranding campaigns for major cities (New York, Glasgow) which have changed perceptions for the better. However, I’m not aware of any successful rebranding of an entire nation.
I ‘m sure that we will all watch Albania’s efforts with interest. In particular I hope that the ordinary Albanian people will see a real improvement in their quality of life. After all, it will be their money that pays for the blue chip Manhattan or London based PR Agency which gets the contract.