Made in Spain: the Kiss of Death for Spanish Marketing

October 22, 2013

Spain has a branding problem.

Massive unemployment and political corruption aren’t giving the Spanish anything to brag about when they go abroad – or, more accurately, emigrate in search of a better life.

But what about those things that Spain does exceptionally well? Those great Spanish products that are among the best in the world in their fields?

Nobody outside Spain even knows about them.

Let’s take a little quiz: what country pops into your head when you think of the following products?

Beef. Olive oil. Wine. Cheese.

If you’re anything like me, it goes like this: Beef? Argentina. Olive oil? Italy. Wine? France. Cheese? Also France.

The Spanish Marketing problem

What you might not know is…

The Spanish versions of most of those products are just as good, if not better. And, since they’re less known, they’re often cheaper, too.

But most people just don’t know about them or think about them. Why? Because nobody’s been working on creating and maintaining the Spanish brand over the past several decades.

The Italian brand is great. High fashion, sexy people, big sunglasses, great food, amazing monuments and lots of sun. Yeah, they have the Mafia to, but they have several good things going for them to balance that out.

And they market the hell out of those things. Italian marketing beats Spanish marketing any day…

I can’t count the number of times I’ve told someone my girlfriend is Italian and had them respond with some sort of “OMG really? That’s sooooo cool. How did you manage that?”

The Italian brand in action… but that’s another story.

(Update, years later: I dumped her.)

spanish marketing

Cows: made with pride in Le Marche, Italy.

Occasionally, people in other countries think about Spain.

What’s in the Spanish brand?

Besides the obvious sun and sangria bit, what sort of brand does Spain have in the rest of Europe?

Unfortunately it doesn’t go much further than what I mentioned at the beginning of this article: unemployment and corruption.

Spanish politicians (who, lets face it, are third-rate mafiosos compared to someone like Silvio Berlusconi) have done nothing for the brand of late, and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to start. For the time being, they’re too busy just keeping themselves out of jail.

As Brian Murdock points out some Spanish companies are beginning to use Made in Spain as a selling point. For now, it seems like kind of a sad plea for some much-needed cash flow.

Would you buy a TV set or a hair dryer or a minivan that said it was Made in Spain? I sure wouldn’t. I’d try my best to scrape together the money to buy something better.

Hopefully, that will change. But it’s going to take some time and effort.

En fin…

That’s all for now. Enjoy your rainy autumn/winter/spring… We’re not going to have much good weather for quite a while, at least here in Madrid.

Oh, and by the way, don’t even get me started on prosciutto. I’ve had lots of prosciutto on my travels in Italy and none of it was half as good as even a mediocre Spanish ham. But when you think of high-end ham, what comes to mind? Probably some second-rate prosciutto, made in Italy. Bah!

What do you think about Spanish marketing and Spain’s branding problem? Let me know in the comments!

Yours,

Mr Chorizo.

P.D. A friend was talking to the owner of a winery recently… and it came out that the guy doesn’t believe in marketing. “If people want my wine, they’ll somehow find me!” Maybe it’s just me… but that seems like the worst possible idea. What do you think?

Related Posts

June 10, 2024

Yesterday Europe celebrated an election. An election to form a new EU Read More

June 8, 2024

I’d like to give a shoutout to a book I read recently. Read More

June 4, 2024

Beautiful Valencia! This is Spain’s third-largest city. And I’ve been here several Read More

About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Politicians are too busy saving their own skin. There is a political and cultural degeneration in Spain. Our future is uncertain. Anyway, this is by far, comes from many years earlier when the supposed spanish “miracle”” made ​​everybody had silent mouth.No one did anything when needed, there’s no culture of prevention and now it’s too late.Also, many people think that things will be like before and are very very wrong.

  2. Politicians are too busy saving their own skin. There is a political and cultural degeneration in Spain. Our future is uncertain. Anyway, this is by far, comes from many years earlier when the supposed spanish “miracle”” made ​​everybody had silent mouth.No one did anything when needed, there’s no culture of prevention and now it’s too late.Also, many people think that things will be like before and are very very wrong.

  3. In the US, supermarket olive oils are vague as to their origins. Many say “packed in Italy”, but if you read the fine print, you see the bottle is marked ES for Spain, IT for Italy, TN for Tunisia, TR for Turkey, MA for Morocco and GR for Greece, or often, some subset of these abbreviations. These oils run $5-$6 sale priced for 750ml. If you want olive oil that proudly claims only one country of origin you have to pay around twice as much.

  4. In the US, supermarket olive oils are vague as to their origins. Many say “packed in Italy”, but if you read the fine print, you see the bottle is marked ES for Spain, IT for Italy, TN for Tunisia, TR for Turkey, MA for Morocco and GR for Greece, or often, some subset of these abbreviations. These oils run $5-$6 sale priced for 750ml. If you want olive oil that proudly claims only one country of origin you have to pay around twice as much.

  5. Culture determines collective reactions and therefore I think we can speak of a certain collective psychology and a certain collective mindset. When you observe Spain from the axis of an inferiority complex, the puzzle gets pretty much solved. In the memory of the Spaniards is loaded the Reconquista, the New World adventure, the involvement in four centuries of european wars… Spain was THE Power to beat, by Frenchs, Dutch and Brits. At some point, they thought they were invincible. And slowly came defeat, decadence and ostracism, and a very very long depression. The cliché defined the Spaniard as reckless and cruel, devoted, passionate and, in the dawn of its power, disaffected and disillusioned –the famous concept of the “desengaño”–. I think the Spaniard interiorized very deeply that he was a puppet in the hands of others. Add a recent, 40 years long, paternalist –and bloodshed– dictatorship to that, and the complex of inferiority has all the ingredients it needs to last. However, I think the Y Generation has broken with that. None of my scientist or professional friends has ever felt less than any of their colleagues with whom they’ve shared lab or office. Of course, the country is rotten to the core, but that’s another story.
    Btw, I like your blog. Good job!

  6. Culture determines collective reactions and therefore I think we can speak of a certain collective psychology and a certain collective mindset. When you observe Spain from the axis of an inferiority complex, the puzzle gets pretty much solved. In the memory of the Spaniards is loaded the Reconquista, the New World adventure, the involvement in four centuries of european wars… Spain was THE Power to beat, by Frenchs, Dutch and Brits. At some point, they thought they were invincible. And slowly came defeat, decadence and ostracism, and a very very long depression. The cliché defined the Spaniard as reckless and cruel, devoted, passionate and, in the dawn of its power, disaffected and disillusioned –the famous concept of the “desengaño”–. I think the Spaniard interiorized very deeply that he was a puppet in the hands of others. Add a recent, 40 years long, paternalist –and bloodshed– dictatorship to that, and the complex of inferiority has all the ingredients it needs to last. However, I think the Y Generation has broken with that. None of my scientist or professional friends has ever felt less than any of their colleagues with whom they’ve shared lab or office. Of course, the country is rotten to the core, but that’s another story.
    Btw, I like your blog. Good job!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}