Israel marked its 60th independence day yesterday. The celebration actually began on May 7th, at 19:45, when the Memorial Day ended.

barely 60Israel has marked 60 years of existence accenting its younger generation, with the slogan “today and tomorrow”. Some cynics were quick enough to produce the poster where the “60” is shown like a grade on a test page, supported by the verbal description of the grade: Translated freely from Hebrew it reads “barely enough”… I liked the double meaning here. However the official 60th Independence Day brand was not that smart or brave.

In fact, what bothered me the most was, that while 60 is a nice round number, and people tend to make a big deal out of it, the brand of this year’s Independence Day was no different than previous celebrations.

We are still celebrating our independence day closely to 2 memorial days: the Holocaust day and the Memorial Day dedicated to soldiers killed in the wars and to victims of hatred. It’s like a Jewish state cannot be simply happy. A sad, melancholic, streak must always be present. Look at our national anthem for example. Slow, difficult to sing, with words that are totally irrelevant to the present day 60 year old Israel, not to mention about quarter of its citizens.

There are many definitions to branding. There are those who perceive branding as a name or symbol. Walter Landor said “a brand is a promise”. David Aaker defines looks at the brand equity and suggests it is “a set of assets… linked to the value of…”. But the more general definition looks at a brand as “a collection of perceptions in the minds of the consumers”.

So if when you say Coka-Cola your mouth waters and you want to quench your thirst, and when you have a head ache you think Advil, that’s brand for you.

I am a consumer of the brand of Israel. For me Israel is first and foremost – home. But when I am thinking about its 60th independence day it is a unique brand, separate from the national or political or geographical brand of the country. What I really would have expected from that brand is feelings of joy and pride, festivity, hope and unity. This brand never delivered it for me. We just went through one more Independence Day.