MMPRC releases billboard ‘mock-ups’ of new Maldives branding

The Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) has released a series of mock-up billboards displaying the country’s ‘Always Natural’ branding in the context of how it would appear to potential visitors.

The new logo and slogan, designed by Thailand-based global tourism consultancy QUO Keen to replace the 11 year-old slogan ‘The sunny side of life’, was unveiled last week by the MMPRC.

In an accompanying statement, the MMPRC said it had worked “in close collaboration with Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Dr Mariyam Zulfa, the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) and Maldives Association of Travel Agents (MATATO). “

“Each stakeholder provided invaluable advice, input and contribution to the new slogan and logo,” the statement read. After a “year-long consultation, research and design process, involving industry and government”, and consultation with “dozens of tourism and other industry stakeholders, as well as the general public”, the new branding was approved by Cabinet on Tuesday.

In March, the MMPRC announced a public competition, calling for submissions focusing on the “unique selling points” and the “emotional selling points” of the Maldives, “based on a fundamental truth”. Despite the many submissions and an extension of the deadline, the stakeholder committee eventually opted to tender for a professional consultancy.

The new branding, including the slogan and a fingerprint logo consisting of islands, corals, turtles, sharks and herons that transitions from blue to green, was met with mixed reviews this week with some people drawing comparisons to the logo of Washington-based environmental advocacy group, Ocean Conservancy.

Similarities with the new Maldives branding raised legal concerns

In response to the concerns, the MMPRC received legal advice from trademark lawyers Ananda Intellectual Property Limited (AIP), which noted that while there was a “very weak degree of graphic similarity between the two devices”, such graphic similarity “is in our opinion not such to create a risk confusion and there is no risk of legal objection due to such graphic similarity.”

“The size and composition of the device are very different from a trademark law point of view. The size and shape of the two devices are different. The [Maldives branding] is more detailed and in its composition. In particular the oval shape, the number of lines of fishes and the variety of fish species are very distinctive and different features and overall produces a strong graphic difference and impression between the marks. Last but not least, one device is hollow, one is not,” the legal advice read.

“We do not consider that the degree of similarity of the marks is such that the usage and protection strategy of a country brand such as [the Maldives branding] would conflict with the mark [of Ocean Conservancy].”

At the launch this week, State Minister for Tourism, Thoyyib Mohamed Waheed, explained that the new branding would broaden the Maldives’ brand away from just tourism, making it more relevant for attracting investment in industries such as energy and fisheries, as well as allowing cross-marketing opportunities on Maldivian exports such as tuna.

Download the full size billboards


58 thoughts on “MMPRC releases billboard ‘mock-ups’ of new Maldives branding”

  1. So the MMPRC are quite happy to carry on with a logo thats lacks imagination and lets face it most people hate, as long as their ass is legally covered.
    The billboard ‘mock-ups’ only goes to show how weak the logo is and 'always natural' is a big claim!

    For you designer out there who care about the image of our country and disapprove this logo, join me and do something about it.

  2. "Malaysia, Truly Asia", "Incredible India" "Uniquely Singapore" - great slogans and we are stuck with "Always Natural" - what the? we've been ripped off!

  3. Saw some beautiful pictures - and think rebranding from 'just tourism' to something more - the entire community with all its concerns economy- and climatewise - is a good choice!

    And it is a hell of a job to brand a country... I (We) know! Holland is still struggling how to get rid of this 'cheese, wooden shoes and windmill' image... We also want to change to a more modern draw/appeal. But it's incredibly difficult...

    I think Maldives made a good start! Congrats!!!

  4. Graphic Designers!

    Please think about functionality when desiging billboards

    These make beautiful print ads and you will probably win an award -- but no one will be able to read what it's saying or who it's for up on a giant billboard !

    We get so many designs like this from agencies sent to the billboard industry ...they are beautiful but really worthless for conveying the message at 60 miles an hour.

  5. @jorg on Mon... are u delusional or something. You cannot compare the Dutch tourism promotion with the current promotion that MMPRC have lounged....

    At least the ‘cheese, wooden shoes and windmill’ image is a correct image among others for the Netherland...

  6. I'm not from the Maldives, or even that part of the world (more's the pity for me) but I do have 25 years' experience in international advertising and brand consultancy. I'd always ask people not to react like art critics, but to look at the central thought: in your case, I think 'always natural' could be a very strong and differentiating idea.

    I can see that working across the whole range of tourism, food/drink/leisure...I can see it describing the people I'd meet and the experience I'd have. Simply saying something like 'uniquely' doesn't mean you are unique...if it did, you could run that idea for any country or city on Earth.

    Give it time and watch it grow...naturally

  7. Someone of the positive comments are so fakish that they could be clearly seen. Another cheap shot.

    We the Maldivians should not let this logo and slogan be associated with us. We should do all we can to get the few boneheads to give up this idea and to resit at the drawing board.

    Always natural.....(US$100,000) Wonder how this amount was shared among the boneheads. 50:50; 20 x 5; 30:70. Key! The Ripper with Ripple Effect!

  8. The same old hard core hate mob making 80% of the noise and complaints...... Does someone pay you to do this????


Comments are closed.