Posts by Ramon Jimenez - Madrid

Spain’s World Cup victory and the Spanish economy

viva-espana“If Spain wins the World Cup, we’ll have to rethink our GDP growth forecast.” Those were the words of the minister of industry a few days before the World Cup final; going by the same rule, losing could lead to a slight decrease. The idea is simple: If I wake up happy and in a good mood, I might go out for lunch, get a fancier wine for dinner and book my vacation with a bit more enthusiasm. And if 40 million people wake up optimistic and confident, that could make a difference for the national economy.

Ironically, it was the Dutch bank ABN AMRO that researched the topic (after the 2006 World Cup) and released the study “Soccernomics,” which puts the economic effect of winning the World Cup at an additional 0.7 percent year-over-year growth for the winner; the loser is forecast to see a negative impact of 0.3 percent.

The economic effect in Spain remains to be seen, but the country certainly forgot about recession and unemployment for a few days. People focused on what they have in common rather that what differentiates them, and embraced the colors of our flag, finally getting over the bitter memories of dictatorship that it carried. What else can brands do beyond the typical endorsement or congratulatory note to ride out the wave of positive public sentiment following a win?

Photo Credit: St. Groove

Spanish reality show portrays a generation stranded by recession

In Spain, unemployment—currently at 18.8 percent—is the main public concern, and we aren’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet. This situation has hit one generation more than any other: youngsters who are neither studying nor able to find work. A recent study showed that 15 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds aren’t active. University degrees are no longer a guarantee of a job, and Spanish youth are apathetic and unmotivated. Their parents lack strong arguments to push them forward.

Naturally, a TV channel saw this as an opportunity for a reality show: Eight of these ninis (which stands for “no job, no studies”) live in a house where they’re learning everything from social skills to math, home economics and handy jobs. The results are not too promising so far. The kids don’t seem to be learning much from the experience, and the content aired so far is surely not making parents any less anxious than they already are.