New Jersey and You...

New Jersey and You...

Trenton, New Jersey, November 17, 2005:

New Jersey, long trying to overcome its reputation for mobsters, air-choking traffic, and toxic waste dumps, asked the public for a new image-boosting slogan and found some of its people share the same sardonic outlook as its detractors.

The public appeal yielded almost 6,200 entries before a deadline on Monday.

Though 90 percent of the submissions were sincere attempts to rescue the state's reputation, some perpetuated the image that marketers are trying to shrug off, state officials said.

Among the not-so-serious entries: "New Jersey: You Got a Problem With That?," "NJ: How You Doin'?!" and "New Jersey: You Want a F$%&in' Motto? I Got Yer F$%&in' Motto Right Here!"

Political corruption, a major theme in the governor's race won earlier this month by Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Corzine, was a favorite target.

"Sold to Corzine" said one, referring to the millions used by the former Wall Street executive to finance his campaign. Among the others were "New Jersey: We can always use another relative on the payroll," "Most of Our Elected Officials Have Not Been Indicted," and "Why should death end your voting rights?"

In the same vein, other submissions included mention of a little-known local politico named Ron, the leader of the radical Ronatarian Party. "If It's Good Enough for Ron, Why Won't You Move Here?," implored one slogan. Another read, "From Ol' Blue Eyes to Ron: Jersey Is Singing Your Song and Wearing Your Facial Hair."

Others seized on the state's pollution problems, with the entries: "Come to New Jersey -- it's not as bad as it smells," and "Toxic waste for all!"

The submissions will be whittled down to a handful in coming weeks and put out again for public approval. Acting Gov. Richard Codey expects to announce the winner by the time he leaves office in January.

The public consultation follows official rejection of a slogan for which the state paid image consultants Lippincott Mercer $260,000. That line: "New Jersey: We'll win you over," was scrapped the day before it was due to be unveiled because Codey thought it implied "that the state has something to prove," said Sean Darcy, a spokesman for the governor.

The state's marketing people are currently using "Get Away, Without Going Far Away," but tourism experts see that as unappealing to out-of-state markets.

On the state's Web site, Codey said slogan ideas were overwhelmingly positive. "Your home state means a lot to you, and you know all the things that make it such a special place," he said.

One writer seemed to recognize that it could be worse, offering: "New Jersey: Hey, at least it's not West Virginia!"

Posted by Bittle at November 17, 2005 07:44 AM