Robert Gordon Clark: on marketing messages from MIPIM

by Robert Gordon Clark

Robert Gordon Clark is executive chairman of London Communications Agency, which advises an array of major London organisations. He knows a lot about this city – and about how other cities present themselves to the world, as shown by his observations of the recent annual MIPIM property trade event in Cannes.

Back in 1995 I was setting up London First Centre, the then new inward investment agency for the capital, which is now part of London and Partners. During my research for that job I came across various marketing campaigns for other UK cities and regions. My “favourite” was an advert in a trade magazine, which included the line: “Ogwyr – Gateway To Europe”. For those who don’t know their geography, Ogwyr was, until 1996, a district of Mid Glamorgan.

Attending MIPIM this year, an event I have been going to since 1998, it appears that some old habits die hard. I photographed some of the displays by other cities and regions and nations, from Europe and elsewhere. I was particularly struck by some of the straplines, which I present here with my comments.

To be fair, many stuck with a simple call-to-action statement, such as: “Invest In (insert city, region, country here)”. However, in some cases the approach seems to have become more esoteric over the years.

Others tried to describe the USP of their city or region. Such as:

In an attempt to stand out from the crowd, some opted for a more oblique approach – to somewhat oblique effect.

Was there any overt anti-Brexit campaigning? Well, not much. The nearest to it I saw came, as you might expect, from the official seat of the European Parliament. There was also an insight into competition for investment between US cities.

Here are a couple that stood out for very particular reasons.

As you can see it is not easy to promote cities, regions and countries with straplines. London doesn’t have one (at the moment), and I would question whether they make any difference at all. But occasionally you see one that stands out.

On London is very pleased to have this debut contribution from Robert Gordon-Clark. You can follow Robert on Twitter.

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