Pirates off the coast of Somalia have been undergoing a radical re-branding exercise in a bid to help increase public sympathy with their cause. Henceforth cargo ships risking the dangerous waters off the horn of Africa will have to look out for Somalis wearing eighteenth-century frock coats, eye patches and black hats featuring the distinctive ‘skull and crossbones’ logo. A spokesman for the new-look Somali privateers explained the shift to more traditional pirate attire; ‘Aha, Jim lad, thar be pieces of eight in that there Spanish galleon!’, he said, after which the ‘pieces of eight’ point was re-iterated several times by the green parrots on his left shoulder.
Pirates have been attacking ships and taking crews hostage for years off the coast of Somalia but surveys suggest that the general public is growing less sympathetic to the pirates because of their habit of targetting large vessels with rocket launchers and machine guns rather than using the traditional methods of swinging from the mast and swashbuckling their way across the poop-deck.
Saskia Bailey-Browne, Brand Manipulator and Identity Consultant at the vast Horizon Brand Design Company, has been working with a team of consultants for the past six months and has launched what she claims is a ‘very exciting and dynamic new-look pirate for the 21st century.’
‘Pirates had become dull, functional and really jaded so we’ve created an extensive brand realignment campaign to glam up everything from their appearance to their kidnapping practices.’ She added, ‘The public can soon expect to see our pirates sporting beautifully embroidered coloured frock coats designed exclusively for them by Julien Macdonald, and these coats will be available to buy from Autumn 09 in the Designers at Debenham’s ‘Yo Ho Ho!’ collection allowing young fashionistas to really engage with the whole pirate subculture!’
International shipping insurers have welcomed the shift to more traditional pirate methods. The response came after Lloyds of London announced it had paid the latest ten million dollar ransom demand for the release of a U.S. registered oil tanker; ‘But the treasure be buried on a desert island in the Spanish Main; ten paces north from dead man’s tree. Yo ho ho!’