Columns » Ranger Rich

Our branding escapade

Ranger Rich



I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener. That is what I'd truly like to be. 'Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be in love with me.

You know, until midway through the picnic when they discovered they were eating cow feet, chicken rectal tendons and ground-up pony scrotums.

The point here — and for legal purposes, it should be noted that Oscar Mayer wieners contain far less than the 4 percent scrotum allowed by the FDA — is that we all want to have our own identity. A catchy slogan. Maybe even a logo. Something that says we are unique. One of a kind.

It's called a brand, the creation of an image. Our village recently paid Stone Mantel, a consulting firm, $111,000 for one of these brands, thinking perhaps that someone could improve upon our town's long-standing brand ("Geez, What a Dump!").

Turns out our new $111,000 brand — "Live it up!" — was already the brand of Battle Creek, Mich., and several other American cities. Oops.

There was no way of knowing that, obviously. It's not like the consultants had access to anything like that fancy, new Internet or had any possible way to find out if another town already had "Live it up!" as a brand. For God's sake, they're not miracle workers.

We, of course, will not get our $111,000 back. The consultants have already re-invested that money in their latest project to brand Denver. (Sources say it's down to two finalists: "City of Lights" or "The Big Apple.")

A Powerpoint presentation on the Experience Colorado Springs (our convention and visitors bureau) website explains that the "brand essence" is that our village is "alive"; the "brand truth" is that "living means doing"; and the "brand character" is "rugged, vibrant and exceptional."

You betcha. Otherwise, we just dropped $111,000 on a bunch of nonsense.

Speaking of conventions and visitors, there are no plans whatsoever to build an actual convention center, like most real cities. However, we do boast America the Beautiful Park, built in the shadow of the mercury-belching power plant and where kids gather to play traditional games such as "Red rover, red rover, send the kid with five arms and an extra ear right over."

Anyway, we're now the "Live it up!" city. Well, one of them. And just by way of a tip, you might want to "Live it up" before 7 p.m., when most of our restaurants close.

It could have been worse. Here are some previous unique brands developed just for other towns and cities by clever consulting folks like Stone Mantel:

• Milwaukee: "All the Lonely People, Where Do They All Come From? All the Lonely People, Where Do They All Belong?"

• Providence, R.I.: "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight."

• Bismarck, N.D.: "Home of the Whopper."

• Bend, Ore.: "Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't."

• Amarillo, Texas: "I Could've Been a Contender. I Could've Been Somebody Instead of a Bum, Which Is What I Am."

• Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: "One Morning I Shot an Elephant in My Pajamas. How He Got in My Pajamas, I Don't Know."

• Bowling Green, Ky.: "And the Cat's in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon. Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon."

• Bangor, Maine: "Find Your Happy Place in Baltimore."

• Baton Rouge, La.: "Here's Another Nice Mess You've Gotten Me Into."

• Dodge City, Kan.: "In the Valley of the Jolly, Ho, Ho, Ho, Green Giant!"

• Peoria, Ill.: "I Said Yo Jay, I Can Rap. And I Spit This Rap That Said I'm Killin' Ya'll Mother-------'s On This Lyrical Sh-t, Mayonnaise Colored Benz, I Push Miracle Whips."

• Pocatello, Idaho: "Georgia on my Mind."

• Coral Gables, Fla.: "Fall in Love With Louisiana All Over Again."

• Dover, Del.: "I'll Get You my Pretty, and Your Little Dog, Too."

• Waterbury, Conn.: "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!"

• Durango: "Oh Danny Boy, the Pipes, the Pipes are Calling. The Summer's Gone and All the Flowers Are Dying."

• Bakersfield, Calif.: "Bond. James Bond."

• Carson City, Nev.: "Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry."

• Montgomery, Ala.: "A Census Taker Once Tried to Test Me. I Ate His Liver With Some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti."

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