Back from a week of European travel to the beautiful capital cities of Paris and Dublin, plus stops in Birr and the airport in Frankfurt. Let's see if I can build a story around some of the pix I took along the way:
1) The love padlocks on the Pont des Arts are back! (Paris)
The Daily Telegraph reported back in May about the mysterious disappearance of the love padlocks attached to the Pont des Arts bridge. The padlocks, with lovers names written on them, were called an eyesore by Paris' town hall and then, days later, they vanished in the dead of the night. (The town hall said it wasn't them.) But now the padlocks, just like the seals on Pier 39, are coming back. According to The Daily Telegraph, the tradition of lovers attaching padlocks to bridges and throwing away the keys was sparked by a romantic Italian novel called I Want You, by Federico Moccia. What started in Rome has now spread all over Europe. Here soon?
2) CDG: Most improved airport? (Paris)
The last time I was at Charles de Gaulle airport, I was trying to catch a plane to the USA, not long after 9/11 and before the airport had figured out how to implement new security measures. I remember being stuck in a hot and noisy corridor with hundreds of other people pushing, shoving and shouting to try and make it through to the gate in time for their flights. What a change this time round. The airport has been upgrading its facilities to try and stay competitive with Schipol and Frankfurt. It's working.
3) Lovely day for a Guiness (Birr)
4) There (may be) ain't no finer Diner than Eddie Rocket's (Dublin)
Johnny Rockets younger, Irish brother? Johnny got started a few years before Eddie, modeled on the one and only Apple Pan in LA.
5) Temple Bar, not the bus station (Dublin)
Like other trendy and/or tourist-attractive destinations, Temple Bar had its period of neglect and urban decay where nothing was developed and then an effective public outcry that stopped some monstrous planned redevelopment. (In the case of Temple Bar, the state-owned transport company proposed to buy-up and demolish property in the area and build a bus terminus in its place.) So its medieval streets are largely intact and it's now a cultural center as well as a tourist and stag/hen party magnet.
6) Camel sponsored glass smoking cages (Frankfurt)
The pros and cons of Camel taking on sponsorship of these glass cages for smokers in Frankfurt airport? Is the grateful recognition from those desperate enough to need to venture inside the cages (which included the warning: Rauchen kann tödlich sein /Smoking Kills) worth it?
That's it! Back soon with more stories from the world of brand strategy. More thoughts and comments also available on Twitter (@martinjbishop).