Countries, like brands, are defined by everything they say and do.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the influence of the Olympic games in country branding and today I read a NY Times article that profiles the efforts of a few visionary Spanish chefs who seek to attract attention to their country with food. Branding on tables across the world instead of the sterile pages of magazines is an attractive concept, particularly in today’s media-packed world.
My first interaction with Italy was at a small restaurant in Bogota where one of the thousands of Italian immigrants was making people fall in love with Italy by way of lasagna al forno. I have since been to Italy three times, and my craving continues for this country that in my mind smells of roasted garlic and rich tomato sauce. The same thing happened for Thailand with the introduction of the Pad Thai into mainstream culture.
In a time where human attention is a precious resource, gaining it through words and pictures is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible. But, in this digital world, if we find a way to be relevant our story becomes vox populi in a matter of seconds.
As gourmet food culture continues increasing, and chefs become like rock stars, branding via food is an even more relevant outlet for countries to showcase their assets. I don’t know if Spain sees this initiative as a way to sell more olives or as an opportunity to literally put their country in the mouths of millions but, in any case, this is nothing short of a brilliant experiential branding initiative.
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