CULTURE

Buy Greek this Christmas: Boosting the economy online

There is a Greek saying that goes something like this: If you don?t praise your home, it will come tumbling down on your head. Greece is a collective household and its people are blessed, says a Greek blogger, who, on condition of anonymity, has launched ?Buy Greek,? an online campaign promoting local products. These days, Facebook users are likely to be invited to join the campaign?s timely ?Buy Greek for Christmas? group.

The campaign?s profile picture on the social networking site depicts a well-known almond chocolate brand, while a new Greek product is added every day. If you visit the page, which comprises a unique network aimed at aiding the local economy both at home and abroad, you?ll come across ?likes? from small and family companies, as well as more established brands, along with comments and suggestions by independent users.

Born, raised and educated abroad, the enterprising blogger currently lives in Greece. Citing the examples of yogurt and olive oil, she says that some local products are of the highest quality.

?It didn?t require much effort for these products to take off — precisely because of their quality,? she told Kathimerini.

Defined by its diversity, the online Buy Greek selection ranges from food products such as traditional ?halvadopites? and chocolates to travel destinations and subscriptions to Greek-American publications.

Diaspora Greeks are responding well to the campaign, and, in return, suggest Greek products on sale in countries such as the Netherlands and the United States.

?For a while now I?ve been trying to find ways to draw people?s attention to the importance of supporting local Greek production and to move away from the insane, unbiased consumption of imported goods,? the blogger said in an e-mail. ?The Christmas season became a catalyst for the campaign?s launch, while its success is reflected in the number of users who are reacting in a positive way.?

They are numerous. In its first week online, the Facebook page attracted over 500 users, and judging from the 3,200 ?likes? observed in the corresponding blog page, the Greek blogger is doing very well indeed.

?I worked for the 2004 Athens Olympics, taking part in one of the most positive chapters of contemporary Greek history. As a nation we managed to stand united and work for a common goal, with incredible results. However, our political leaders did not seize the opportunity which the Games presented; in fact they did the complete opposite.

?Because of the ongoing crisis, the image of Greece is being assaulted on an international scale. This has prompted many people to reflect on what exactly went wrong in our country. Now is the time for us to get down to work and fix things for the sake of Greece and its future generations, for the common good, not just our circle of friends and family. The Buy Greek campaign is a step in that direction.?

The drive urges potential buyers to share the Facebook page, as well as the passion and thoughts it represents, and purchase Greek products this holiday season. There is no need to spend a lot, it could be a chocolate bar, a postcard or a book, just as long as the product is Greek.

As a work in progress, it will be interesting to assess the campaign?s results following the holiday season.