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NATO Hires Coca-Cola Executive Instead of Madonna

The Coca-Cola executive shall "retool NATO's brand," reports the NY Times (HT: Benjamin from Anglofritz):

Less than a year before its 60th anniversary, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is determined to revamp its image, establishing a media operations center for Afghanistan and hiring an executive from Coca-Cola to manage the way the alliance is seen around the world. (...)
Michael Stopford, has spent two years guarding Coca-Cola's image and will join NATO as deputy assistant secretary general for strategic communication services in August. Mr. Stopford, a British-born American, is a specialist in managing reputations. Before working at Coca-Cola, he also held jobs at the United Nations and the British Foreign Office.

I doubt whether such a branding will be enough. NATO needs to reinvent itself. Has Coca-Cola done that recently? Nope, it still tastes the same.

Madonna, however, has reinvented herself extremely successfully several times. And Peter van Ham of the Clingendael Institute in The Hague has even published an article in the NATO Review on NATO and the Madonna Curve: "Businesses use Madonna as a role model of self-reinvention. Now it's NATO's turn." Okay, okay, NATO is trying to do both: retooling its brand and reinventing itself by working on a new strategic concept.

Related posts on Atlantic Review:

"Maybe It's Time for NATO to Die"

Bumper Stickers Slogans: What is the Purpose of NATO?

Trans-Atlantic Cooperation: Are Europeans Unwilling to Share the Burden?

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Martin on :

When will they ever learn that corporate advertisement idiots are useless in politics. Anybody remember how Charlotte Beers, who is famous for her ad work for "Uncle Ben's rice", TOTALLY failed to achieve anything as US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs? She quit after only 17 months. [url]http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/against-the-grain-why-uncle-sams-touch-of-the-uncle-bens-left-the-arab-street-cold-588075.html[/url] Let's see how long the coke guy lasts...

Pat Patterson on :

If Mr. Stopford fails in presenting NATO in whatever guise they want that failure will not be because of the only five years he spent with Coke and Exxon as a "...corporate advertisement idiot[s]." It will be because of the over two decades he has spent performing similar functions for the UN and the British Foreign Office. I suppose quoting from Robert Fisk is balanced reporting but the article, at least to me, indicates just how glib and dismissive the press has come regarding NATO. Which means, in spite of all the talk about rebranding, that NATO not only describe what they think they should be but show what they have done and are currently doing as well. I would think the mere fact of providing a security arrangement for the former Warsaw nations, dismembering the bellicose Greater Serbia and keeping the Russians in a constant state of being p***** off was also a plus.

Joe Noory on :

I don't know if it would be any more awkward than a gang of Policy wonks trying to run a blog... Would it make any difference if the guy came from an executive position at Aldi?

Pat Patterson on :

Or worse NATO could have hired the executive that Oldsmobile hired away from P&G to help make Rocket 88s and Aleros commodities for every garage in the US.

Nanne on :

Aldi doesn't do corporate re-branding. It just has cheap prices and decent quality (and has the fortune of other chains like Lidl getting a worse rap on employee relations). Coca Cola has not done re-branding either. They have been quite good in business to business relations with other big brands and in getting their brand marketed locally. If that's going to be what Stopford will try to do in NATO, it might be interesting.

Joerg on :

"I don't know if it would be any more awkward than a gang of Policy wonks trying to run a blog..." I'd love to do it, but Madonna would be a better choice.

joe on :

If NATO had a backbone then this effort would not be needed. One can only hopes this efforts fails too.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Annoucments like this make me wonder if NATO has entered a terminal phase, where its main reason to exist is to perpetuate itself. Kinda like the UN. The best re-branding for NATO would be a successful military or relief operation with modest US involvement. C'mon, NATO, justify my love???

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