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You Say You Want a Revolution…

In a blog post earlier this year, we explored Connecticut’s unique challenge in its embryonic, $27 million branding campaign. State officials have now announced the slogan centerpiece of the campaign.

Still Revolutionary

Okay, that doesn’t do much for me personally but I acknowledge, the state did employ heavy-hitting marketers to craft this campaign. They may know better than I, particularly how the slogan tested, so I’ll leave it be for now. However, as a recent Hartford Courant blog noted, Connecticut’s new slogan, while not making me personally swoon, is far from the worst used in the remaining 49 states.

The following is my Top 10 list…a 5 best and 5 worst slogans…used by the
states.

Best

5. Alaska: North to the Future. Pretty good. Capitalizes on the obvious geography to impart the message that it’s a state of forward thinking, motivated people and policies.

4. Massachusetts: We Have It All. Any state that can boast both hills/ski slopes and a coastline is the most practical candidate for such a slogan, as both elements can be captivating in the marketing collateral. Also, unlike Connecticut’s coastline, which is hampered by a unique geographic detriment in Long Island, our northern neighbor’s Cape Cod coastline is incredible. Promoting Connecticut’s coastline in tourism, or even on license plates, always seemed like deceptive advertising to me. But I digress…

3. Wyoming: Forever West. This one is not only accurate, it appeals to those who long to visit a land that maintains a ‘frontier’ feel. My personal image of this state after having visited it 30 years ago, is that there is great beauty in a national treasures such as Yellowstone National Park but it has an even more lasting image – Prairie. Much of Wyoming is as desolate…and flat… a place as you can possibly imagine in the United States. Yes, it is still frontier-like, and that’s well–illustrated in a tourist town like Jackson Hole.

4. Maine: There’s more to Maine. Yep, there sure is! The biggest state in New England, this destination has more coastline and woods than any other in the region. What it doesn’t have more of? People (and crime). If its tourism marketing indeed focuses on the coast and extremely rural aspects, this slogan nails it.

1. California: Find Yourself Here. Yeah, a little weird but so is the product. The line appeals to key common desires of both tourism and relocation. Should you want to spend time away from home, hey, you’ll ‘find’ something in yourself there. Are you unhappy with life where you currently reside? Maybe you’re just in the wrong place. You can ‘find’ yourself (or ‘true self’?) in California.

The worst:

5. Montana: The Last Best Place. Whoa, anything that features the word last almost immediately short circuits. Following that with ‘Best Place’ can’t save it. Of course last best also strongly suggests that it’s the worst.

4. Rhode Island: Unwind. Really? We know this is a very tiny state (if you’re half the size of CT, that speaks volumes) but there’s got to be something more compelling to say about it than a weak one-worder.

3. Michigan: Pure Michigan. Okay, Michigan is a lot more than Detroit and Rochester, so I’m guessing they highlight the state’s rural characteristics in the campaign. Even so, reiterating the state’s name in the slogan lacks creativity and says nothing on its own.

2. New Mexico: New Mexico True. Wow, this one’s even more perplexing than Michigan’s
slogan. That’s largely because New Mexico, as a southwestern state, may not equal neighbor Arizona’s overwhelming landscape charm but it does carry attractive, built in imagery that invokes the frontier/cowboys/old west Americana.


1. Illinois: Mile after Magnificent Mile. Good Lord this is awful. Chicago is a nice Midwestern city (Just steer clear of the southside. There’s a real life reason Jim Croce deemed it the residence of Leroy Brown). But the remainder of this state? Dominated by cornfields and soybean fields as far as the eye can see. It’s quite flat, so you can see a lot, hence the truth to the ‘mile after mile’ part. But drive south of Chicago and it’s doubtful you’ll find it magnificent.

Honorable mention:

2: Texas: It’s Like a Whole Other Country. Everything I’ve heard from friends who’ve lived there is that this too is accurate. From the conservative political culture and thriving Austin music scene to the zoolike variety of indigenous animals and insects prowling the landscape, it’s like nowhere else. However, no friends of mine stayed there more than a couple years, so New Englanders should seriously investigate relocating to the lone star state before taking the plunge!

2. Alabama: Sweet Home Alabama. You know the Boomers are firmly in control when you use a Lynyrd Skynyrd song to brand your state.
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