An Article from the Jamaica Observer
Here in his weekly column in the Jamaica Observer, Dr. Henley Morgan dismantles the notion of “Brand Jamaica” through reason. We think RightFromYaad has started at the right time to impact the Jamaican psyche, if we can share with people an understanding of how to use objectivity instead of emotions to analyze our problems and propose meaningful and rational solutions. Brand Jamaica will not be our lifeline.
WHY BRAND JAMAICA WON’T WORK FOR US
by Henley Morgan
The made for Super Bowl Volkswagen commercial depicting Jamaicans as carefree and happy, proves once again that we are a people enamoured more with the nine-day wonder of imagery than we are with the substance of nation building.
Watched by an estimated global audience of close to 100 million viewers, the advertisement triggered a euphoric outpouring of articles on the pages of this and other local newspapers declaring the Jamaica brand the panacea for all our ills. There are two false assumptions that drive even intelligent people to such a conclusion.
The first false assumption is that being happy has economic value. That Jamaicans are happy is not in doubt. In a January 2008 opinion poll, respected pollster Bill Johnson asked the question, “Are you happy or unhappy with your life in Jamaica?” The results of the poll were as follows: 59% said they were happy; 35% said they were not happy, and 6% said they were not sure. In 2009, the New Economics Foundation ranked countries based on what it calls their Happy Planet Index (HPI). A country’s HPI, the think tank claims, is a function of its average life satisfaction, life expectancy at birth and ecological footprint (eg greenhouse gases) per capita. Of 150 countries in the survey, Jamaica ranked the third happiest place in the world. The United States came in dead last. So much for the view that happiness has any validity as a key economic indicator.
The second false assumption, and the one with which this article is preoccupied, is that brand automatically translates to…..(Read more)