Wednesday night's opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games – with its inflatable Loch Ness Monster, giant kilts and rolling heather -- raised as many eyebrows as it did smiles. Nonetheless, experts agree that the event is likely to give "Brand Scotland" a much-needed boost.
Some 1 billion viewers across 71 countries are estimated to have tuned in and watched the opening ceremony on Wednesday, which was held at the Celtic Park stadium in Glasgow. The Commonwealth Games is a sporting event which involves athletes from 71 states that mostly used to be part of the British Empire and are now part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
This high level of international exposure is invaluable to a small country like Scotland, according to Brian Coane, partner at The Leith Agency, which is the Games' official marketing and advertising services provider.
"This is huge for Scotland; it's a perfect way for Scotland to showcase its best bits," Coane told CNBC.
Branding agency Landor Associates CEO Lois Jacobs – who helped produce the two previous Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies – said the Games would make people look at Scotland in a new light.
"Scotland will definitely get a boost from the Games. It's is showing that it's outward looking and inclusive, and showcasing its great culture," she told CNBC.
Scottish "speed dating"
But the opening ceremony has come in for some criticism for its reliance on clichés, in a section described by Jacobs as "speed-dating" Scotland's best bits. From kilts to Irn-Bru, and the Loch Ness Monster to Tunnock's teacakes, a slew of Scottish icons featured in quick succession at the beginning of the show.
"I understand what they were trying to do – they had to feature all these famous things about Scotland – but the treatment was a little surprising, and I'm not sure the humor of it necessarily translated," Jacobs told CNBC.
David Guy, managing director of Edinburgh-based marketing agency Guy & Co, disagreed. He was at the ceremony and said the amusing start was designed to include everyone – both in the stadium, and at home.
"The humor was self-depreciating. It took iconic images of Scotland and poked a bit of fun at them in a way that showed we don't take ourselves too seriously," he said.