A brand so bad it’s good: The paradoxical place marketing of Belfast

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According to O’Driscoll (2008), paradox characterises marketing in the ‘after modern’ epoch. This is certainly true of place marketing, which is often described as a paradox-rich domain (Dinnie, 2011). Drawing upon the results of a novel, culture-based research procedure, this paper describes the paradoxical outcomes of an urban branding exercise in Belfast, one of the world’s most infamous cities. Albeit dismissed by local worthies as a futile attempt to ‘put lipstick on a gorilla’, this paper argues that Belfast’s branding is not only far from futile but a perversely paradoxical form of marketing that’s so bad it’s good.

Keywords: Belfast; city branding; literary analysis; paradoxical marketing

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2013.796321

Affiliations: 1: University of Ulster, UK 2: Dublin City University, Ireland 3: Loyola University Chicago, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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