Highland, High time

Introducing Cedgruik Encore, my Second Life Avatar

I must confess I have a passion for Scotland. People who have met my avatar in Second Life understand what I mean... It is not only due to the Highlands reminding me of my home place with their shredded landscapes, but also because of all the iconography that is related to this country. The fighting spirit. The rugged but determined personalities. The mysteries. The legends. The clans...

And talking about iconography and legends, I have come across a piece of communication from the Scottish Tourist Board that pulls a new kind of strings. "New" at least to me:

To promote its region among female audiences, Visitscotland will capitalise this year again on its human resources: the Scots. A second edition of this local beauty contest will encourage women from 13 countries to vote for their preferred kilt-wearing model:

In 2006, VisitScotland introduced Date A Hot Scot, with twenty of Scotland's hottest eligible men profiled on a website, dateahotscot.com, on which women from 6 countries around the world were invited to vote for their favourite, and in turn win an unforgettable trip to Scotland for them and their girlfriend. Such was the incredible success of the campaign -with the website attracting a staggering 85,000 visitors- that Date A Hot Scot is back! This time VisitScotland is extending the campaign out to 13 countries, meaning that double the amount of women will be given the chance to vote for their Hot Scot, the chance to win yet another fabulous dream trip to Scotland. Dateahotscot.com will also be full of information on how to plan a trip to Scotland -a country brimming with fun and romance, making it the perfect destination for single women worldwide.

It is not the first time that good-looking, though tough, men are used to attract women to slightly repulsive places. For instance, Paris rugby club, Stade Francais, launched a few years ago a calendar featuring their players, naked in order to attract women to the games. This has been an absolute hit among both female and gay populations. But it was only one of numerous initiatives by Max Guazzini to democratise this sport and attract a wider audience. Inspired by US sports, the Stade Francais president has changed many of this traditional sport paradigms: remote-controlled buggy brings the ball before a conversion, players wearing flourished or pink tunic, giant karaoke at half time, Miss Europe bringing the official ball on the ground...

The success is obvious. This week-end, for instance, and for the fifth time in its history, the Parisian club has played in Stade de France instead of its regular stadium at Jean Bouin. With a 80,000 attendance for a regular season league match (as much as for the World Cup final in 1998), it clearly demonstrates that, thanks to Guazzini's efforts, this sport now reaches beyond the traditional South-Western enthusiasts. It has become a show many want to attend.

Let's hope that the Scottish approach will be as successful as the Parisian one. I cannot wait to see the remake of Brave Heart as a musical. I can already picture William Wallace rising over the crowd and starting to sing Mel Brooks' song "We are the men in tights"!?! Or maybe not, after all there is a legend around what happens below the kilts... And it should remain a legend.

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