Wally Olins (2008:6), points out that in contemporary culture “brands and branding are all-pervasive and ubiquitous”. As he says, one need only walk down the high street of any major foreign city in the world, be it San Francisco or Shanghai, to be embraced by so many familiar brands, including Coca-Cola, KFC, Apple MAC, Chanel and Toyota, that one could mistake it for home. In the last 15 years particularly, the ubiquitous influence of brands and branding has seen the field outgrow its commercial role and expand into more secular and political spheres. Thus, the focus of this study is the role and influence of brands and branding on modern nations and their reputations via intentionally constructed national identities, with specific reference to South Africa. According to the main objectives of this study, focus was placed on the critical examination of South Africa’s nation brand, It’s Possible, in the light of the theoretical ideals for an intentional constructed national identity as proposed by Bartholmé and Melewar, Anholt and Olins. The examination centred on the analysis and interpretation of the individual communiqués that constituted the South African pavilion at the world Expo 2010, as their content is the result of the implementation of the nation’s visual brand language. The analysis and interpretation sought to, firstly, investigate the constitution of the South African visual brand language used in the design and construction of the pavilion’s communiqués and, secondly, to broadly identify the core values of the intentionally constructed South Africa nation brand – It’s Possible, made manifest in the South African exhibit through the visual communiqués.
Dissertation (Master of Arts)--University of Pretoria, 2012.