Kosovo ‘nation branding’ campaign wins M&M award

‘Young Europeans’, Kosovo’s ‘nation branding’ campaign created by BBR Saatchi & Saatchi, has won the Best Nation and Place Branding category at the 2010 M&M Awards. Minister of Economy and Finance, Ahmet Shala received the award on behalf of the Kosovo Government at a Gala Dinner on Thursday at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

The M&M Awards, now in their 20th year, celebrate the creation and effectiveness of marketing strategies coordinated and implemented across international borders. The Best Nation/Place Branding Campaign is a new category for 2010, introduced in recognition of the increasing importance of international marketing campaigns created by national governments to promote a nation on the world stage.

The 5 other campaigns shortlisted in the category were for South Africa, London, Dubai, Bahrain and Madrid.?? The Kosovo strategy was highly differentiated in the arena of place branding.

Prior to the start of the campaign in October 2009, Kosovo had found its way onto the TV screens, newspapers and computers of billions of people. Yet the ways in which the country had been portrayed had been beyond its control.?? The campaign aimed to shift the nation’s image from the troubles of the past to the opportunities of the future.?? Kosovo has the youngest average age of all European countries. The average age is just 25, whilst amongst the larger European nations the age is closer to 40.

The campaign idea, Kosovo – The Young Europeans, communicates that the country is a fountain of youth and that the Kosovar people have something special to bring to the European continent by taking a younger, fresher, perspective to everything they do.

In their selection of the Kosovo campaign as Winner of the nation branding category, the M&M Awards organizers reflected that ‘the Judges were particularly impressed by the “genuinely intriguing” nature of the campaign, by the very cost effective activation, and by the results’.?? The ethos of the campaign can be summed up by the words of the press advertising:

‘Our country is home to the youngest population in Europe with an average age of 25, giving the place a spirit of optimism and enterprise you won’t find anywhere else. From the ancient streets of Prizren to the modern café districts of the capital Prishtina, you can feel a positive energy flowing through the people. It is the start of something amazing. We’d love you to be part of it’.

David Kosmin, who led the project at Saatchi & Saatchi, says: “The Kosovo assignment has been a wonderful challenge for Saatchi & Saatchi because we are literally branding a new nation. Our strategy is to bring the spirit of youth to the old continent. The campaign takes the demographic fact of ‘Young’ and turns it into a feeling that touches the viewer, changing their focus on the country from its past to its future. We are thrilled for Kosovo’s young people.” As we reported in January 2009, Saatchi&Saatchi won the $5.9 M tender to brand Kosovo internationally.