This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Marca Perú: communicating Perú as a brand out of context
Department of Media, Culture, and Communication New York University
not from Peru. but from Perú. (Abourezk 2011) Using common places. in Nemaha County. and Peruvians (without accent mark) to those inhabitants of the city of Peru. and in his first week online. When the bus stops. the Latin American Country. this double edge propaganda video provides rich material to illustrate and discuss concepts relate with identity. Perúvian filmmakers. They are all Perúvians. about 30 people descend from it. Nebraska. (Soldi 2012) The video was launched online on May 5.be/RL9gsVy9gfU . irony. dissimulation and contrast. and folkloric traditions. in Nebraska. world-renowned chefs. champion surfers and celebrities are here to show how great is to be Perúvian through food. 2 “Marca Perú 2011” (Official Version with English Subtitles) http://youtu. goes viral receiving more than 680. in this essay I am going to refer as Perúvians (with accent mark) to those inhabitants of Perú.000 hits on YouTube.2 The objective was to promote the image of the country globally.1 This is the plot of the 15-minute video that the Ministry of Tourism of Perú created in 2011 as a part of a commercial campaign. and therefore. as a country in Latin America. 1 In order to make the distinction. United States. 2011. sports. music. but first the campaign look for encouraging national pride in Perúvians. communities and complexity of the stereotypes. make them feel as ambassadors of their country-brand. Nebraska.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 2 Introduction Imagine this situation: a red charter bus arrives to a small and quiet city in the middle of the United States called Peru.
making visible Perú’s multifaceted richness. climates.” explains Mariella Soldi. goods and opportunities. “The strategy taken to develop a unified national brand was to first convince Perúvians on their own self-worth. that result of the combination of people. while the educational. Proinversión (Agency promoting private investment in Perú). (Promperu 2011) Improving this self-image would be an important first goal before taking on the international image of Perú. comprised of representatives from Promperú (Commission for the Promotion of Perú Export and Tourism).MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 3 A national branding campaign for Perú After diagnosing the international perception of Perú. This company conduced an in-depth study showing the situation was not only affecting global markets. grounds. (FutureBrand 2011) To achieve these objectives a board was created. the public relations arm of the government came to appreciate that it was largely based on stereotypes and clichés. exports and tourism. and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. political and social issues were not highly valued. before communicating this image on the world. For them. hiring the international branding agency FutureBrand. (Promperu 2011) In 2007 some Perúvian institutions related to the economy and tourism decided to solve this image problem. They started to look at how to showcase Perú as an . the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism. Director of Country Brand at Promperú. touristic. but also revealed that Perúvians had a low perception of them-selves and of their own country. cultural and human aspects were somewhat favorable elements associated with the image of Perú. (Soldi 2012) Lead by FutureBrand the project aimed to take advantage of the country’s growth and crescent performance in matters of investment.
before approaching World Markets.3 The plot: performance. Nebraska were surprised to receive these visits—the situation is clearly a performance prepared in advance. It was decided that the new country emblem would be its own name: Perú. its consistency in different languages. The board began working on campaigns related to Perú as a word. based on its people. The goal was to make them feel like proud country ambassadors.be/RL9gsVy9gfU . spicy and full of rhythm—arriving in the other Peru to show why their Perúvian culture and traditions are worthy of pride. Although the story develops in a very natural way—as if the habitants of Peru. such as Cantalloc. and the shortness of the term. products and places.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 4 interesting country. Nazca and Inca. opportunities. the accent mark. There is 3 “Marca Perú 2011” (Official Version with English Subtitles) http://youtu. As for the graphic design. Moche. In March 2011 the board introduced the new country brand “Marca Perú” and two months later they launched an advertising campaign specifically created to raise awareness of the national identity among Perúvians. flavors. it is a game full of irony that builds its message through contrast and dissimulation. culture. while they also sought for an identity associated with a strong projection into the future. One of the most successful pieces of the campaign was the video of Peru Nebraska. it was inspired by motifs of Perúvian ancient cultures. irony and dissimulation The video is based on the idea of this group of Perúvians—colorful.
tasteless. ceviche. Christian Bravo. but they don’t know what that means. Via voice-over. While the plot is being developed.” This is one of the early sentences of the video that illustrates everything that the Perú in Latin America is not: dull. and yuca like french fries. chicha morada. Nebraska. artists Magaly Solier. we are fully aware of the game and the artifice: a false Perú is being performed. Gonzalo Torres and Dina Paucar. (Promperú 2011) The delegation of Peruvians is led by Perúvian chefs Gastón Acurio. Carlos Alcántara. ‘huancaína Potatoes’. has a problem: the inhabitants are Peruvians. as well as the participation of prominent Perúvians. the party started. Peruvian Sheriff John McNorman is convinced to replace his donuts with Perúvian picarones. cabrito a la norteña. (Baudrillard 1994) “Peru. ‘alpaca burger’. Dina Paucar. using a skateboard instead of a surfboard. Taking just some chosen aspect of Perúvian identity. Peruvians say that Inca Kola tastes like bubblegum. Perúvians share with Peruvians anticuchos. (Promperú 2011) Then. they take out the ketchup and replace it with Perúvian spicy dressings. nor lackluster. the images dissimulate the fact that the real Perú is not there. In a Perúvian testing. the video seeks to establish a maxim that all Perúvians—even the Peruvians without the accent mark—should appreciate how wonderful it is to be Perúvian. plain. Perúvian pisco. the tenor Juan Diego Flores and the journalist Rafo León. Performing a huge fake wave with a blue plastic sheet. it's your right to eat delicious food". and Inca Kola (the best known Perúvian soda). surfers Sofia Mulanovich and Gabriel Villarán. promotes her Huayno show with colorful posters all over .MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 5 something about this performance that is deliberately fake and playful. yuca. Villarán teaches how to surf. ‘lúcuma ice cream’. Ivan Kisic and Javier Wong. On the local dinner. Getting off the bus they shout: "You are from Peru. quiet.
to "live in an universe strangely similar to the original. the beauty of this drill is that it makes us fully aware of the game and the artifice. trying to turn Peru into a more Perúvian place (Baudrillard 1994).MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 6 Peru. or dissimulating. to quote Jean Baudrillard. and Juan Diego Flores sings on the local Peruvian radio station. it is simply masked. Indeed." the "real" and the "imaginary. whereas simulation threatens the difference between the "true" and the "false. leaves the principle of reality intact: the difference is always clear. but dissimulated playing up this false Perú to restore reality principle to Perú: Therefore. 11) if we concede that in this case the “performed Perú”—that one with the accent mark—is the original. In this way performance of dissimulation is created. This American Peru has started. imagined while all Perúvians are invited to feel and to be part of this identity. "Perú Negro" teaches their African-Latin-American rhythms. pretending. 3) The permanent contrast shows that it is not intended to question. (Promperú 2011) ." (Baudrillard 1994." (Baudrillard 1994. and with boundaries shown when Perúvians teach Peruvians about Perú’s geographical advantages. The idea seems to be to bring to Peru the essence of the Perúvian nation as an imagined community (Anderson 1991): sovereign through its customs. but to reinforce the real and the fake and open up many possibilities to determine what is genuine and what is false here.
but hiding or excluding some very important cultural aspects. showing things they have in common. but focuses on other cultural elements. 4) In fact. this video does not highlight the socio-political aspects of Perú's identity as a nation. But the video does not highlight cultural belongingness in a traditional way. in a performance that emphasizes differences between Peru and Perú. folklore.and thus its 'identity' . 3). These cultural elements are shown in contrast to Peru. the relation to what it is not. as an entertainment . dance. Perúvian identity arises here within a constructed fantasy. highlighting cultural belongingness. Regarding dissimulation. showing all the elements of an imagined community: sovereignty. but also. literature and sports. (Hall 1996. but a distinct “other” because everything else. and second. such as food. based on an imaginary Perú. pride of belonging and boundaries. Perúvians play themselves in a performance full of clichés. but foregrounds it and contrasts it in what Stuart Hall (1996) calls a narrativization of the self: … it is only through the relation to the Other. The “Marca Perú” video generates those senses of identity and community first through dissimulation. in spite of the fact that “nation-ness is the most universally legitimate value in the political life of our time” (Anderson 1991.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 7 Communicating identity in contrast The video "Marca Perú" suggests a strong sense of identity. (Anderson 1991) Thereby the campaign seeks to generate an emotional tie among Perúvians. to what has been called its constitutive outside that the 'positive' meaning of any term . Nebraska—an “equal” in name. music. This not only constitutes an irony. through juxtaposition. establishing a dialectical relationship between them. to precisely what it lacks.can be constructed.
3). a construction.” (Anderson 1991. a fiction. to bring this to light (Plato 2003). the Perúvian identity is here what Agawu would call an invention. Hegel also brings up the relevance of this dialectical process between the thing and the denial of the same. in “Marca Perú” those clichés are created by Perúvians themselves.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 8 piece. According to Guy Debord (1977). 200-204) Similar Kofi Agawu’s description in “The Invention of African Rhythm”. are asking American-Peruvians to embrace being Perúvian. making up this unreal reality (Debord 1977. makes it harder to criticize. and promotes feelings of identity. there is argument and counter-argument not only in the courts and places of public assembly but it seems that in all cases of speaking there would be one and the same art of some kind (if indeed it is an art) which enables someone to make everything similar to everything else. For Hegel. and often profoundly selfsacrificing love. Through this performance. plastic arts show this love very clearly in thousands of different forms and styles. as part of society. as the key method of attaining truth. a myth. music. p. so we cannot say they are being misrepresented. (Zizek 2004. when someone else makes these similarities but hides the fact that he is doing so. Therefore. the importance of spectacle is precisely in the deployment as society itself. p. “Nations inspire love. The cultural products of nationalism poetry. (Agawu 2003) As a spectacle. a lie. and actually encouraging “real” Perúvians to embrace their own identity. provided that things are comparable and able to be compared and. in order to go . the campaign represents the essence of what constitutes an identity. 141) What this campaign ultimately does is employs the rhetorical formula used by Plato in Phaedrus: So. and as the meaning of unification. Like Socrates. prose fiction. famous Perúvians.
ethnically and socially diverse one. That juxtaposition makes this dissimulation evident. and also emphasizes the concept of the imagined community. a nation. the video seeks to generate or reinforce the belief that all Perúvians constitute one big community. by thinking about the thing. to finally get to the reason or absolute knowledge. and it does it by juxtaposition and contrast (Anderson 1991. this is why the contrast between Perú and Nebraska is so important--if we concede that Peru is the denial of Perú. the video does not present any clear political dimension of Perú. In order to understand Perúvian identity from a Hegelian point of view. However.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 9 beyond sense certainties. Perúvian Identity: stereotypes or archetypes According to Anderson. a nation that is far from a unitary homogeneous community. and thus determine the essence of being (Hegel 1977). it is necessary to first reach perception through the knowledge of the senses. In this multicultural context. social interactions among Perúvians have being characterized by inequality and by the social exclusion of indigenous and other minority segments of the population. it is necessary to comprehend what Perúvian identity is not. 32-33). (Espinosa 2011) . Following this logic. Perú is a racially. Rather. which Anderson claims constitutes the idea of a nation (Anderson 1991). This is only possible through the dialectical path of successive affirmations and negations. and then to the understanding. is “an imagined political community . to achieve a synthesis between being and nothingness.and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign”. as a cultural artifact.
using recognizable Perúvian symbols. Perúvian identity is related to the Andean world. while highlighting Perúvian archetypes. In fact. The perception of Peruvian national identity is then partly based on stereotypes and valuations made up by the different groups that make Perúvian society. colonial religious traditions. different ethnic and social groups give different perspectives on what means to be Perúvian. national identity seems to be a matter of circumstance rather than of emotional bonding. although there often appears to be no awareness or explicit recognition of this. other have high levels of positive identification with the country and a strong sense of belonging”. . it is reasonable to think that the relevant issue for this campaign was to reinforce not the existence of a single national identity but on the possibility of achieving it on the basis of a collective self-esteem. but ambivalent stereotypes and self-views. it is also a symbol of collectiveness. Taking some of those aspects. Although Perúvian cuisine is a reflection of this mixture. positive and inclusive. is one of the most diverse in the world. well known food. He claims that there is no solid and strong national identity. such as famous people.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 10 According to psychologist Agustin Espinosa. for example. Based on the above. Amazon communities. what “Marca Perú” does is to dissimulate stereotypes. backwardness and marginality. in Perúvian popular belief. Perúvian society tends toward stereotyping and prejudice based on social and ethnic characteristics. (Espinosa 2011) Espinosa asserts that in Perú. “Some people associate Perú as a troubled society with underdevelopment. with pre-Inca wind and percussion instruments mixed with moderns ones. Chinese. Its folk music. Japanese. as well as African. As a part of its multicultural nature. Italian. French and Spanish traditions.
. music and folkloric traditions. As a case study. “Marca Perú” shows how complex it is to use stereotypes—even in a dissimulated way— in attempting to foster national identity pride.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 11 sports. but also a potential danger— while some Perúvian characteristics are highlighted. Using common tropes—such as sending Perúvian black musicians to spice up Peru—the video not only constitutes a cliché. other are totally undermined.
MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 12 .
MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 13 .
MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 14 .
2003. http://www. Mariella. Stuart. FutureBrand. 1-17. «Marca Peru. 2012). The Commodity as Spectacle. . Promperú. 183-2013. 2012). 1991. 2011.» May 12. http://journalstar. Slavoj. Simulacra and Simulation. Anderson. Edit by Stephen Scully. Baudrillard. Benedict. Estudios sobre identidad nacional en el Perú y sus correlatos psicológicos. 1996. Promperu. London: Verso. Agawu. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. «Politics: A Plea for Cultural Revolution. Abourezk. Peruvian commercial filmed in Nebraska goes viral. Newburyport: Focus Publishing. «The Invention of African Rhythm. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2011. Phaedrus. «Introduction: Who Needs 'Identity'?» in Questions of Cultural Identity. 2012).» En Organs without Bodies: On Deleuze and Consequences. Promperú (personal communication. London: Sage Publications. by Kofi Agawu. sociales y culturales.com/work/featured-cases/countrybrand-peru/ (accessed November 26. 2011. Espinosa. 1977. Debord. June 5. Soldi. Detroit: Black & Red Books. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Zizek. New York: Routledge. Country Brand Peru .com/news/local/article_00de890e-257f-531c-acb2-b6928150b69d.futurebrand. The Phenomenology of Spirit. October 12.MARCA PERÚ: COMMUNICATING PERÚ AS A BRAND 15 References Hegel. by Slavoj Zizek. Director of Country Brand. Hall. Kevin. «Documental Marca Perú 2011 (Versión Oficial de la Campaña Nacional). 2004. Guy.» Presentation (unpublished) Lima.html (accessed November 27. 2003. 2011. Kofi. Jean. Agustin. by Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay. New York: Routledge. 2011. Imagined Communities.» En Representing African Music. 1977. (PhD Dissertation) San Sebastián: Universidad del País Vasco. Plato. 1994.