Monday, September 29, 2014

I club New York.

Saw an ad for various attractions for New York State in the fall.

Font of all knowledge Wikipedia tells us that this blasted slogan and logo have been used since 1977. Thirty-seven years is damn long enough, don't you think? If people don't frigging heart New York by now, they aren't likely to start hearting it with another round of this stupid thing.

And it is a stupid thing. The tourism board tells you "I Love New York." Well, of course you do! It's your job! What you want to say is "You'll Love New York," but it doesn't fit the square.

And this would be presumptuous.

No, it's clear that New York has to come up with something fresh to keep the interest of potential tourists who have lost their minds and want to be separated from their money here. Naturally, public-minded Fred aims to rush to the rescue with my ideas for new slogans.

And yet the more I thought about it, the more I realized how hard it is to come up with a tourist slogan for anything other than maybe a tropical paradise, and even they may cause you to circumvent the truth ("St. Urania: We Haven't Had a Bloody Revolution in Months!" "St. Urania: Now With 23% Fewer Febrile Diseases!"). U.S. states (and commonwealths, all right, Mr. Picky Pick) have other issues, such as the fact that most of them have very similar neighbors. A campaign that works for Idaho might work just as well for Wyoming. New York may consider itself an exception, but I have my doubts. (Jersey's got shores, Vermont's got leaves, Pennsylvania's got hills.) Further, U.S. states (and commonetc.) often have little to offer than cannot be found someplace closer.

"You there, in Texas! Get in your car and drive fifteen hours to Alabama for vacation!"


"The wonderful Gulf coast!"

"Like the one we have here? Or the closer one in Mississippi? Or Louisiana, for Pete's sake?"

"Fine, stay there."

What are we supposed to say, our autumn leaves are better than Vermont's or New Hampshire's? So you start trying to think of things your state offers that are unique. "New York: Kind of Triangular." Okay, no good. But New York does have some great features you don't find everywhere in the U.S., like "Niagara: Falls, Folks, and Fun!" Or "The Hamptons: We Don't Want Your Kind."

But you want attractions for the whole state, not just pieces (like "Can't Have Utica without U!"). It's tempting to make your campaign about your biggest city, like New York City or Chicago or New Orleans, but this has to be a state campaign. Let the cities have their own dad-blasted campaigns, is the cry from the state tourism board.

New York's got everything other states have, although often less of it. You want mountains? We got little ones---small, but potent. Sports? Yes, even one NFL team. Horse racing? Just a charming spot called Saratoga and a third of the Triple Crown. Museums? We got culture out the bazooty. National monuments? There's a big green lady I want you to meet. Historic military academy? You bet. Beaches? Down there on the pointy end. Lakes? Sure, lakes. "Even Our Lakes Give You the Finger!" As in most states there's a hodgepodge of things that will never all appeal to everyone. California has more different crap than any other state in the nation and they gave up and went with "Dream Big" as their slogan. It tells you only marginally more than I Heart New York.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized the reason states even have a tourism board is just to get money. You are irrelevant, but your money is always needed. Especially in this state, where our government can't sneeze without a $10,000 gilded tissue. So I finally settled on "New York: Send the Money and No One Gets Hurt."

Not catchy, but it gets the point across.

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