The most recent Robin Hood-related news stories breaking in the global media!
In the glitzy world of today's celebrity culture, the term "National Treasure" is sometimes too freely attributed to people who do not really have the longevity or profile to deserve such an accolade!
However, Robin Hood has been frequently referred to in these terms and is not just a "national treasure" but is also globally recognised as the world's favourite adventure hero, whose 500 year old story is a legendary classic!
So I got to wondering if other countries also regarded their folk heroes as "National Treasures" - and if and how they used these iconic figures to promote their country to the international tourism industry etc.? That's when I came across a report on how Transylvania markets its Count Dracula legend and realised that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire may be only playing in the minor league!
An article from the professional business magazine "Marketing" outlined how the Transylvanian government had secured a European Council funded programme to develop a strategy for Romania's huge tourist potential and had identified Dracula as a separate national tourist asset, alongside Black Sea beaches, mountains and spas. This had brought about a World Dracula Congress in Bucharest in 1995 attended by historians, folklorists and "vampir-ologists" from all around the globe.
Recognising the value of an international brand name such as Dracula, the Transylvanian Society of Dracula had established itself as a non-profit making organisation and to fund its activities, it offered Dracula Tours, ranging from a Grade One Tour - "suitable for balanced, classical minds, interested in the Gothic approaches to issues of broader existence" - to Grade Three tours, reserved for true initiates!
The organisation also produced a collection of quality merchandise aimed at tourists, that encompassed the finest Romania had to offer in silverware, glass, and china etc. – all discreetly hallmarked with the Dracula logo –a dragon in the shape of the letter D!"
From a completely opposite marketing perspective, I later read about the tiny community of Hell, in southeast Michigan, USA, that uses all the benefits of its iconic name with the obvious word-play on "going to Hell" or "going through Hell" etc. A convenience store and bait shop also served as the Post Office, where you could get letters hand-stamped with a "From Hell" postmark or a message to let the world know that you've "been to Hell and back!" They even sold tiny baseball bats engraved with "A Bat out of Hell!"
Whatever you might think of these two extremely different approaches, in their own way, they both make the absolute most of their legendary associations – which is a conundrum that our City and County are still struggling with!