Cobranded Diplomacy: A Case Study of the British Council’s Branding of “Darwin Now” in Egypt

Amal Bakry


In the wake of September 11, 2001, cultural diplomacy has become increasingly important and dialogue-based initiatives have been used to improve understandings between the Muslim world and the West. In 2009, the British Council implemented the “Darwin Now” initiative in Egypt, in partnership with Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Although evolutionary theory is considered controversial in the Islamic world, “Darwin Now” generated mostly positive media coverage. This study uses a cobranding theoretical framework to examine how the British Council was able to avoid negative spillover effects. A single case study of the British Council’s “Darwin Now” 2009 campaign in Egypt was conducted and consisted of a content analysis and 36 in-depth interviews. The findings of this study conclude that it was possible to overcome negative spillover effects because of partnering with a high-profile national organization such as Bibliotheca Alexandrina.


cobranding, British Council, Egypt, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Darwin Now

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