City branding

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Katherine Stone is underwhelmed by Atlanta’s new tagline (Atlanta: Every day is opening day). Christina Maynard at Ricksticks feels the same about the new logos for Toronto and Atlanta.

I’m yawning too.

My two (maybe five) cents: when people talk about advertising and branding they often focus on a few examples of stuff that seems to work. Katherine likes Las Vegas’ “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, which has a lot more impact than the Atlanta offering. Most of us can reel off a few TV ads we really love. But let’s not forget that most of what we see is achingly mediocre.

So if I were advising a city, I’d ask: what makes us think we’re so talented that we’re going to be the one in ten thousand cities that comes up with a snappy tagline or clever logo that actually achieves something? And who exactly are we to think we have the ability to summarise the complex virtues of where we live in a few short words?

I can’t help thinking this is another manifestation of the tyranny of the explicit: if we don’t make explicit, however trivially and boringly, some USP for a location, we’re somehow missing a trick. God forbid that we let the people who live here, and those who visit, tell the story in a million more modest, less consistent but much more credible ways? Ah, but that would put a few branding experts out of a job I guess.

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