Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fire & Iceland

Back in the 60s Charles Revson and Revlon came up with Fire & Ice. It was a great shade of lipstick and the title of his biography. And last week I was reminded of it as I was grounded in New York by Iceland's very own version. That huge mass of ice, lava, steam and ash has blown Europe a kiss it’ll never forget.

Thousands were stranded by the recent eruption as air travel ground to a halt. The airlines lost hundreds of millions. But man alive, what a show! If you watched any of the best TV footage you’ll have seen the incredible plumes of ash rising from the summit of the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajokull, forked lightning wiring its way across the clouds while chunks of molten rock fly off the sides hotter than a Sosa drive, creating deep pock-marks in the ice.

If there’s any upside to all of this (apart from a hopefully benign fertilizing of every garden in the British Isles), it has to be a branding opportunity for Iceland. While everyone else is making contingency plans for the inevitable sequel from sister-volcano Katla (10 times bigger!), Iceland should be making plans to capitalize on the images that circled the globe with the ash. Once the smoke finally clears the boost to local tourism could be tremendous.

A new name might be the place to start. Fire and Iceland?