Hr.Ms. Johan de Witt has captured two so-called whalers off the Somali coast last week. Whalers are “pirate motherships,” as Radio Netherlands says they are called, forward operating bases from which other pirate vessels are launched.
By using the troop transporter Johan de Witt, the Dutch navy is mimicking the pirates’ tactics: using a forward operating base from which to launch small vessels, in this case landing craft.
(Note the Obama flash light on the pirate vessel.)
By the way, what do you think of the ‘new’ logo (2000) of the Ministry of Defence (right)? On the one hand I feel it is boldly modern, on the other hand it doesn’t have the don’t-mess-with-us quality that the lions, eagles, swords and shields of yesteryear had. Bold, in other words, but the wrong kind of bold.
(Source photo: Ministry of Defence. In the photo one of the whalers is brought in by a landing craft.)
You can say many bad things about Amsterdam’s city marketing campaign I AmSterdam, but at least in some respect it works. A mix of the phrase “I am Amsterdam” and “I heart Amsterdam,” the slogan lets people express their positive feelings towards the city in a tacky but unified manner.
Madrid tries to copy the formula, and copies everything that is wrong about the I AmSterdam campaign. It is tacky. You cannot force a meaningful emotional response with a cold marketing campaign. The formula replaces core values—the reasons why people like Amsterdam or Madrid—with empty slogans. And in doing so, the campaigns are insulting to their audiences’ intelligence.
But Madrid’s copy takes things one step further: it just doesn’t work. “Madrid about you” is a funny pun, but the way the logo is styled makes it say: “Madrid equals mad” (the “about you” is de-emphazised by shoving it to the bottom and printing it in a smaller font.) Critical Spanish designer Rafa Celda says in El Pais that the people who came up with this campaign are trying too hard. “This is like one of those logos that comes with a manual.”