Apparently, Russia has an image problem. Who knows why, but despite president Vladimir Putin’s best efforts, people just don’t seem to want to go on holiday there as much as they should. To remedy this, the Russian state is doing what any business with a bad rep would do – dig down, find the root cause of the problem, and then come up with a new logo for its tourist board.
Unlike most companies, though, the mighty Bear hasn’t turned to a slick branding consultancy, but instead passed the task onto the people, whose entries have been whittled down to a shortlist of ten by a Kremlin commission.
This ‘all-Russian jury’ – which is chaired by Minister of Culture Vladimir Medina and includes (deep breath here) representatives of the Federal Tourism Agency, the Russian travel industry union, regional departments and committees for tourism, the association of Russian communication agencies, the association of Russian branding companies, the Russian union of designers, the Russian union of journalists, the union of Russian artists and various bloggers and journalists (talk about decisions by committee) – will then vote on its favourite three, with the winners to be announced later in the month.
MT thinks the smart option would have been to have a thrusting image of a topless Putin wrestling a bear to appeal to the frankly underserved gay tourist vote, but alas such an entry never saw the light of day. (Stranger things have happened - see our article on Kalashnikov's rather hopeful new slogan, 'protecting peace'.)
Here’s our pick of what they actually came up with.
Simple is sometimes best.
There's a definite onion-dome theme developing here.
What do bears do in the woods again?
You have exactly fifteen minutes to tell us where your soul is or the bear - and 25,000 Ukrainians - get it. (All credits Russia Tourism)
The rest of the shortlist can be viewed here.