First, there’s a billboard featuring a blue-eyed, blonde girl with plaits sitting on a fence, welcoming you to the country. Then, a soundtrack of yodelling and cowbells plays softly as the monorail sweeps you off to the baggage terminal, where the only products being advertised are Swiss-made watches. As you exit, posters catch your eye: a landscape of mountains and rolling hills. Is Switzerland the one country that happily feeds off its own stereotypes?
The ad agency behind Swiss, the national airline, certainly think so: they run adverts with taglines referring self-deprecatingly – yet with a confident superiority – to the “cliché” of offering Swiss chocolate on board.
Why such cheesy oversimplification? Are they so confident in Brand Switzerland that this is all they need?
Maybe with reason though: a recent nation branding index placed Switzerland number one in the world. Those soothing cowbell-sounds must be doing something right.