LONDON: Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has launched a contest to rebrand the country and move its image away from stereotypes of corruption and communism, with the help of Alastair Campbell, the one-time chief press aide to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Rama and the Albanian government are searching for a PR, marketing, branding, or ad agency to develop a branding campaign to create a new identity for the country, promoting its image as a tourist destination and place for investment.
Writing about the contest on PRWeek UK’s blog, Campbell said that Albanian authorities "know they have a problem internationally, with a lot of the focus on the hangover from communist dictatorship, or today on corruption, organized crime, and other negatives."
"Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama launched a global ‘Branding Albania’ contest via Twitter, saying that #nextgenerationalbania would bring a ‘beautiful spring’ to Albania’s somewhat hard and wintry image," he said.
Campbell is supporting the contest after working with Rama and the Albanian Socialist Party on the election campaign that brought them to power last year.
"I got involved with Rama’s campaign in opposition, and have stayed involved now that he is prime minister, because I got to know the region during the Kosovo war, liked it, found it fascinating politically and historically, as well as strategically important," he explained. "Countries that try to change for the better deserve support in trying to change."
Mark Lucas, founder and director of Silverfish Media, worked with Rami and Campbell on the election campaign. He said the image overhaul was the next step from the initial campaign that sought to position Albania as a modern, colorful, and energetic country among voters.
"It's not just a marketing exercise; it connects to changing the country," added Lucas, who also worked with the Labour Party on UK election campaigns from 1997 to 2010.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom Campbell served as director of comms, also provided strategic advice to the Socialist Party in the run-up to last year's elections in the country. He is currently advising the Albanian government on its efforts to join the European Union.
The contest, which is open until April 30, has attracted 54 applications from countries including the UK, Italy, Spain, and the US, including CNN International, according to Campbell.
Watch footage from Rama's election campaigning below.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.