Thursday, March 19, 2009

Find Yourself Here

I grew up in "Colorful Colorado." I know this primarily because I read a lot of license plates in my youth. In the seventies, there was a great move afoot to insert "Rocky Mountain High" into that mix, but it never quite caught on. A very good friend of mine came from Muskogee, Oklahoma, and I always felt the need to remind him of his state's adequacy: "Oklahoma is OK." Not great, not terrific, I would remind him. Just "OK."
Over time, state slogans can change. The friendly folks in New Jersey decided to change theirs from "New Jersey and You: Perfect Together" to "Come See For Yourself" in 2006. There was a move afoot in 1980 to make "Born To Run" the state song, but a closer look at the lyrics (It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap) kept it "unofficial." The legacy of "I'm From New Jersey" continues.
I'm sure no one really considered the irony of Texas' slogan, "It's Like a Whole Other Country," until the past eight years. Ohio and North Carolina continue to bicker about who is "First in Flight" and who is the "Birthplace of Aviation," but at least they don't have the braggadocio of Delaware's "It's Good Being First."
And now there's Wisconsin. For so long we have known them as "America's Dairyland." It worked well with that whole "cheese-head" image. Well, not anymore. "Live like you mean it" will take the place of the previous official slogan, "Life's so good." Not a bad change, but it does sound a little more like a threat. Kind of like the motto of New Hampshire: "Live free or die." Not a lot of choice there, but it's good to have options. The other problem with the new vision for Wisconsin is there are at least five trademarks covering the term's use for promoting real estate, dietary supplements, and even Bacardi rum. Then there's the overlap with the self-help industry. "Live like you mean it" has such an empowering feel to it, why limit it to just one state? If it doesn't stick, I suggest they try to work something out with Springsteen for "Cadillac Ranch."

1 comment:

Mrs. Id said...

Just think of those poor New Hampshire prisoners hammering out license plates, day after day....