Taking The Great Out Of Britain

The recent ‘Britain is Great’ campaign is unnecessarily costly, and forgets to mention any of the things that are actually great about Britain.

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Britain is great. 

Those three words are the basis behind a multi-million pound advertising campaign that the government hopes will bring tourists and investors flocking to our county. And those three words are the exact reason why the campaign will not succeed.

From taglines to images, the campaign is flawed on every level. Far from putting the ‘great back into Britain’, the posters are awash with negative connotations. They portray both arrogance and insecurity, whilst adopting a tone that completely contradicts our national psyche. It seems this badly-timed and ill-considered campaign is at risk of damaging – not promoting – our national image.

One of the posters in question

The most striking characteristic of the campaign is its sheer egotism which is enough to discourage even the most loyal Anglophile. The posters boast supremacy in all aspects of society be it education, business or sport. One even states that ‘British Talent Leads the World’, an assertion that is bound to provoke claims to the contrary. Moreover, such bragging is completely unfounded. The last few months have been defined by economic instability and violent riots- hardly the definition of great.

Beyond this arrogance, such self-assured declarations could be interpreted as an admission of weakness. It is difficult not to wonder whether the campaign is an attempt to restore credibility to an increasingly insecure government. Besides, if our country does indeed ‘lead the world’ surely there is no need to advertise? If our country is so eminent, then why do people need to be reminded?

But the most disappointing aspect of the whole campaign is its lack of subtlety and humour. To be ‘British’ is to be self-deprecating and reserved; cynical and dry-witted. It is a great shame that, as a representation of our nation, the posters capture none of these famously British characteristics. Instead, they resort to brash and simplistic branding.

This flawed campaign is a great waste of time and money. But most of all, it is a great shame that our government has felt the need to resort to substandard advertising to bolster our national image.