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What’s in a Name?

For years now,
state and local economic development marketers across the country have been
pursuing the holy grail of a catchy tag line that engraves their location on
the subconscious of the nation.

The success
stories are, well, memorable. Mention Las Vegas and “What Happens in Vegas,
Stays in Vegas” immediately pops into your cerebellum. New York is synonymous
with “The Big Apple.”

Of course, along
the way, there also have been some slogans that didn’t quite hit the mark.

In the 1980s,
the Garden State came up with “New Jersey and You, Perfect Together,” which
never really clicked. But that may have been the result of Gov. Tom Kean’s
patrician accent, which rendered the tag line “Puhhfect Togethah.”

Enter the city
fathers of Columbus, OH. As detailed in an article in Sunday’s New York Times,
the civic leaders of Ohio’s capital have elevated their search for a new slogan
to something akin to the Manhattan Project.

The Columbus
Chamber of Commerce and representatives from local promotional organizations
including the Columbus Foundation, Experience Columbus and the job-creating
Columbus Partnership have joined forces to leave no stone unturned in search of
the verbiage that will put Columbus on the national radar with the intensity of
a heat-seeking missile.

The city elders
have named a special task force to come up with a new slogan for Columbus. The
task force reportedly has been sworn to secrecy until it can reach a consensus
choice, for as long as it takes. According to the
Times, the task force is not expected to unveil a new tag line for Columbus
until the middle of next year.

Apparently, the city is a bit gun-shy about
moving too quickly to embrace a new slogan because six earlier branding efforts
fizzled out. Previous entries included “Discover Columbus,” “Surprise, It’s
Columbus” and the current standard-bearer, “There’s No Better Place.”

“Columbus has
not had a bad image,” Paul Astleford, director of Experience Columbus, told the
Times. “It has just had no image in the national marketplace.”

One model the
top-secret task force reportedly is eyeing is that used by nearby Indianapolis,
which has fashioned itself the “Amateur Athletic Capital of America.”

Since Columbus
is one of our favorite towns, we wish the city well in its quest for a new
slogan. We look forward to seeing the winning line.

We presume the
new slogan will not be based on the motion picture title of the vintage romantic
comedy starring Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin, which was based on the novella
of the same name by Philip Roth:

“Goodbye,
Columbus.”

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