Norwegian marketers fear whale backlash

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Norway's marketing chiefs are worried about international consumer boycotts following a decision by the country's Labor Government to legalize exports of whale meat in defiance of aglobal trade ban.

"This decision is very narrow-sighted. We are back to the days when the reputation of Norwegian products and services, is being tarnished by a Norwegian government that does not understand the sensitive relationship between customer loyalty and product identity with the country of origin," says Petter Hauge, a director of the Scandinavian image consultants Scanbridge, based in Oslo.

Norway resumed hunting minke whales in 1993 despite a global moratorium. Previous Norwegian governments had refused whalers' pleas for export licenses for some 600 tons of blubber and other products frozen in warehouses in northern Norway.

The current Norwegian Ministry argues that small minke whales are "plentiful" compared to giants such as the blue whale.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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