North Port, Florida, a nondescript chunk of suburban sprawl between Sarasota and Fort Myers, was rebranded as the place to “achieve anything,” a slogan that the Sarasota Herald-Tribune decided was appropriate given that the recession-stunted city “lacks a movie theater, mall or bowling alley.” Indeed, anything would be an achievement.
For its money, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, got the inexplicable slogan “Yours truly.” Roanoke, Virg., was christened the not so inexplicable “Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” and locals must have been slapping themselves on the head, gazing at the mountain vistas, wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or maybe they had.
Simple-minded stuff doesn’t come easy. North Star suggested that it took a “two-year re-branding effort involving more than 1,500 people” to decide to change the seven-county region formerly known as “Iowa’s Technology Corridor” to “Iowa’s Creative Corridor.”
Marathon County, Wisconsin, got itself the slogan, “Central Time” — I have no idea why. However the state of Mississippi, stubbornly clinging to an antebellum, south-will-rise-again mindset, was easy: “Find Your Own True South.” Yeehaw.
You’d think a town like Moose Jaw, in Saskatchewan, Canada, would inspire a particularly witty, rustic slogan. But Moose Jaw was stuck with “Surprisingly Unexpected,” which would have been a better fit for Tijuana. The Moose Jaw trademark does include an explanation point fashioned from a moose antler. Maybe the use of drawing in the typeface presaged Florida’s orange tie.
Alex Sink has offered her own counter-campaign. “Florida is the state for innovators and entrepreneurs. Ditch the tie and join us.”
Enterprise Florida claimed the orange tie and “perfect climate” slogan was derived from “430 survey responses, 172 interviews, 26 focus groups and 19 tours.” Apparently, for another $125,000, a Jacksonville marketing firm was brought in to craft the final scintillating product.
I’m pretty sure that a newspaper columnist could have come up with something just as catchy after a fact-finding mission along Ocean Drive on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
It’s early in my marketing research project — it’s going to be tough coming up with new and innovative ways to fritter away $330,000 of the public’s money — but I’m pretty certain about one thing. Whatever skimpy attire my marketing campaign embraces, it won’t involve neckties. Orange or otherwise.