The Michael Buerk hotel

Believe in better ….  Every little helps …. Welcome to wonderful … Pursuit of more … Invented for life ….

In modern marketing …. three-word slogans …. seem to be …..  where it’s at.

Coming up with these catchphrases must be hard enough in one’s own language. For non-English speaking businesses that need to communicate in English, the pitfalls are deep and painful.  Foreign nations are particularly fond of showing off their anglo-punning skills, which is usually a mistake.  I make an exception for “Qui skie Skiss?” which used to be seen all over France, advertising …. I am not sure what.  Advertisements that are too clever run the risk of distracting viewers from the product.

No danger of that at the Hotel Kulm in St Moritz, which seems to have selected ‘with a wink,’ for its new catchphrase.

I deduce this from the fact that at the recent promotional event mentioned in my previous post, the hotel’s articulate spokesperson kept slipping this phrase into her lecture, gabbling it apologetically in a way that suggests she knows how bad it is but has an obligation to remain on-message.   The Kulm would like to be thought of as a hotel that winks, like Michael Buerk.   Really?

The Kulm is a magnificent palace which narrowly escaped conversion into a Club Med thanks to the intervention of Stavros Niarchos and does many things supremely well.  Scrambled eggs, for example.  I can understand its wish to appear more modern and less stuffy. But the artworks in the lounge, whose subjects move like the portraits on the wall at Hogwarts, and may even wink, are naff.  ‘With a wink’ does not do the Kulm justice.

I suppose the wink is a variation on those tired fallbacks, the twist and the spin.  Restaurants which do things in the usual way but would like us to think their offerings are in some unspecified way excitingly different, prepare the freshest seasonal local ingredients with a Mediterranean, oriental or some other unique twist (or spin).  But not a wink, surely.

Who wants to arrive at a hotel and be greeted with a wink?  A wink is a sly, knowing, complicit thing.  ‘We know that the girl on your arm is someone else’s niece, not yours, but we won’t let on.’


Have a niece day

Have a niece day

‘We know that you know that we know the stories we tell about the history of this property and its glamorous celebrity guests are made up.  But we know you like the stories, and we do too, so let’s pretend.  All right?’

Say no more.

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