Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Beer And Models: Promoting Mallorca
If you look at a map of Germany, you will discover that there are sixteen "Länder" in the country, the sixteen states of Germany. Missing from it is the seventeenth. It is a gag in Germany that Mallorca is the seventeenth state, so close has been the association for so long.
The German obsession with the island far outstrips any British fascination. It does of course have its downside, especially if the red-top "Bild" has anything to do with it. But it is otherwise a generally positive obsession, even if it can result in the German television-viewing public having inflicted upon it some atrocities in the name of popular entertainment. Geman broadcasters think nothing of flying in some appalling Schlagermusik acts, locating them in a "kneipe" in Paguera, Arenal or another mini-state of Germany in Mallorca, and filming them. The result? Truly awful.
My own personal favourite of this genre was an outdoor location. Some dame in a ball gown was on rocks with the water lapping over her feet, belting out a tune, while a bloke in full tux gear was on a different rock playing a trumpet. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments when one can only wonder what on Earth possesses anyone to dream up such a scenario. For the most part, though (or it would seem), the German telly watcher laps up ladies having water lapping over their stilettos. I personally couldn't identify where the rocks in question were, but the über and immer curious Germans would doubtless have undertaken such research, gone online and booked there and then.
Which is why it is all so positive. While the British are served a diet of "Geordie Shore" and Stacey Dooley, the Germans have unthreatening musical and other acts promoting the island. Which brings us to a more modern performance: one by German group Stereoact. This thirtysomethings DJ-producer duo have a smash hit, "Die Immer Lacht" (she always laughs). Even more of a smash is the number of YouTube views - currently some 47 million.
Its success may owe something to sixteen-year-old blonde model-singer, Greta Hirsch, who is never off camera during the video. But if eyes can be taken off Greta for one moment, then it is evident that there are certain scenes of Mallorca. Some of it is a bit "urban" in that, for example, a wall with graffiti features. Otherwise, the knowledge-seeking Germans have been figuring out where the different scenes are, such as Ses Covetes and Palma.
While parts of the British media were, thanks to "The Night Manager", alerted to the fact that there are indeed parts of Mallorca which aren't Magalluf and consequently appeared to try and outdo one another in professing their knowledge of the likes of Formentor, the BBC series was something of an unusual occurrence. For the Germans, on the other hand, there is more or less daily free promotion of Mallorca - and normally in a positive way - from one source or another. And the Stereoact song and video have just reinforced this, even if of the 47 million one suspects that the majority have been more interested in Greta than in a beach chiringuito.
Although the British and other tourism markets may be deprived when it comes to such publicity, the collective efforts of video producers do go some way to redressing the total imbalance, nay vacuum, of official tourism ministerial productions. Once more, the brewer Estrella Damm is doing its damnedest to promote Mallorca and the Balearics. Its 2012 promotion was a fabulous advert for the Tramuntana and especially its coastal parts. Two years previously it had highlighted Menorca and the Sant Joan fiestas (currently in full swing of course), while last year it was Ibiza and the fabulous short film with Dakota Johnson.
This year's video finds Estrella back in Mallorca, with the lead taken by Jean Reno, the French actor who was born to Spanish parents. (He's been in all sorts of things, such as "Mission Impossible" and "The Da Vinci Code".) Playing a grumpy actor, he finally comes to appreciate "those little things" (the title of the production) by his guide in Mallorca, Laia Costa, and with some help of course from the odd bottle of Estrella. Where was it filmed? Well, taking a look and trying to recognise the locations is half the fun. But as with other Estrella films, it is not just a great advert for the locations, it is also worth watching in its own right because of the story and the acting, thus lending the whole production double power.
The Balearic tourism ministry is very lucky that there are the Estrellas and others doing its work for it. The ministry should package them all up and place them on some as yet undeveloped website. But does it ever take any real notice of what is produced on its behalf?