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Friday, September 28, 2007

It's about time

If you call Atlanta City Hall and get put on hold, a recording of Andy Young will remind you over and over that "Every Day Is an Opening Day" until you want to scream, slam down the phone and move to Bainbridge, Ga.

Well, your misery is about to end. The Brand Atlanta campaign has finally realized that the city's two-year-old motto isn't working, according to a front-page story in today's Atlanta Bidness Chronicle (subscription required). Local PR guru Bob Cohn is quoted hitting the nail on the head:

"This was really a joke from the beginning," Cohn said. "It wasn't 'Virginia is for Lovers' or 'I Love New York.' It was trying to capture everything, and that was a mistake."

Cohn was apparently too polite to point out that the tagline also blows greasy chunks.

To be fair, the motto isn't embarrassing so much as it is bland, meaningless and forgettable. In contrast, the Ivan Allen-era claim that Atlanta was "A City Too Busy to Hate" was visibly false, but at least it memorably articulated a shared yearning to make Atlanta a better place for everybody.

The Brand Atlanta campaign has so far cost nearly $15 million, says the ABC article, with about $8 million coming from city taxpayers and the rest from private sources. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the $90 million a year that Las Vegas spends on its "What Happens Here, Stays Here" campaign. But it's arguably money that's been flushed down the crapper, as studies have shown that the Atlanta branding campaign has had no discernable impact on tourism.

The downside to the city's belated realization is that Brand Atlanta isn't going away. On the contrary, it plans to debut a new branding campaign early next year. Anyone know a good realtor in Bainbridge?

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