Thursday, March 08, 2007

Statements on States

The banner at top, featuring the late MAJ Mike Adams, American hero and NASA test pilot, is a fun game for me. This week, Mike is outside Sperryville, VA, a tranquil little hamlet just far enough from Washington to feel like the country, but still northern enough to probably be considered NoVa by the rest of Virginia. (Thanks, Rick D.) Sperryville is also the home of Oasis CD, the independent artist's best friend. (That off the cuff mention means giant discounts for me, right Oasis?)

Anyway, blog traffic from the Commonwealth has been up these days and that got me to wondering if Virginia still uses the old "Virginia is for Lovers" tourism slogan. So I checked out their website and sure enough, that old slogan is still around, and it still works. Simple, mysterious, playful. They haven't changed the heart or the font in years.

And so, being the student and unqualified critic of advertising that I am, I trolled some other state tourism sites to see what other parts of the country are doing.

Ohio: So Much to Discover. OK. If you say so, but it sounds like the last ditch effort that wasn't going to offend anyone. Generic and boring. Could apply to any state. Why not, "Ohio: Not As Bad as You Thought." And what's with the star dotting the "i"? I liked Ohio the few times I've driven through it, especially that valley around Wheeling on the Ohio river.

Texas: It's Like a Whole Other Country. Cute. Reminds me of the joke, "If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd rent Texas and live in Hell." But seriously, this one isn't bad and the leather jeans tag is a nice touch. (Texans are fiercely proud of their state and they will kill you if you don't like it.)

Wyoming: Forever West. If I'm not mistaken, that's the same cowboy imagery from the Wyoming license plate. Nice branding. And the committee gave this direction to the slogan writers: Find a nice way to say "empty, wide open and populated by scary loners."

I Love NY. More a local boast than a tourism call, New York knows it is a destination. The tourism board's challenge is to get people into the rest of the state, not just the city. Never liked this one, but at this point it's a fixture.

California: Find Yourself Here. This one works OK. Simple design, double-meaning slogan. Still, I'd have gone with, "LA is a Hell Hole. See the rest of the State."

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