Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

February 18, 2014

TOM JEKEL: Indiana's new tourism slogan an improvement over past?

Admit it: It's better than 'Restart Your Engines' of 2006.

The new state tourism slogan unveiled last week by the state Office of Tourism Develop­ment is “Honest to Goodness Indiana.”

Here’s the back story on the new marketing campaign, courtesy of the tourism folks and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann:

“The development of a new brand is an opportunity to create a unified consumer message for Indiana ...”

Unified. I like it. Sounds promising so far.

“... connecting all regions; from north to central to south.”

Check. That’s an important factor. We want it to unite Hoosiers far and wide.

“The goals of this project were simple: to create a brand that truly represents the entire state; to be respectful of Indiana’s history but also be forward looking; and to be fitting for both rural and urban settings.”

After a year’s worth of research and development, that’s what we got.

You will have to admit it’s an improvement over “Restart Your Engines,” which revved up in 2006. Being as how I didn’t even know that tourism slogan existed, it might as well have been “Our tourism economic engine is sputtering and in the garage for repairs; it should be ready by Tuesday.”

The knock on “Engines,” from people who knew the slogan existed, is its primary connection was to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is important to the economy of Indianapolis a few months out of the year but doesn’t do much to promote northern Indiana wine country or the natural rolling hills of southern Indiana’s Brown County.

At least “Honest to Goodness Indiana” is better than “Wander Indiana” of the 1980s, which became a punchline.

If people wandered long enough, as some comedians said, perhaps visitors would eventually find something of interest in Indiana.

But some of “Wander’s” successors were just as bad.

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