A Brand That Isn’t Bland

We’re not the only folks less than thrilled with the five finalists for state slogans. From the New York Times, the choices are garnering a lukewarm response…

Nonetheless, New Jerseyans seemed to have an easier time finding punch lines for the five slogans than deciding on a winner, which they can do by phone at (609) 984-9893 or online at www.nj.gov/slogan. In interviews, many said that the finalists – picked by the governor from a pool of 100 semifinalists chosen from nearly 8,000 submissions – were bland and in need of a few local amendments.

In downtown Newark, China Simmons, 19, a student at Essex County College, and her grandmother, Linda Woodley, 54, made jokes about "New Jersey: The Best Kept Secret." They worried about what might be hidden, especially in a state where one of the most powerful political fund-raisers, Charles Kushner, pleaded guilty to witness tampering, tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions in connection with a scheme to videotape a New York prostitute he hired to seduce his brother-in-law.

"Anything that’s a secret is probably bad," Ms. Simmons said, standing in the cold outside a Conway.

"It’s like our gay governor," said Ms. Woodley, referring to James E. McGreevey, who declared himself a "gay American" last summer. "I don’t have a problem with his being gay, but it sure was a New Jersey secret

In a few days, we’ll know if the Baristanet pick (by poll), "Come See For Yourself" takes it.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. things go from bad to worse when the state picks a slogan everyone will ridicule…can’t we just split jersey in 2 and give 1/2 to PA and 1/2 to NY…we don’t have an identity other than diners, fries with gravy, taylor ham and egg breakfast sandwiches and the home of the Sopranos.

  2. Personally I feel New Jersey is highly underrated. It actually has it all! It has: lively suburbs (Hoboken, Maplewood, Montclair, Morristown, Westfield, Ridgewood?), big cities (Newark is on a comeback, what with the Ironbound section, the NJPAC, and so forth); beautiful farmland, picturesque villages and towns, many with great antique stores (Newton, Andover, Frenchtown, Lambertville, Milford, Lafayette); industries; great beaches and amusement parks (nobody does a Boardwalk with rides and junk food like NJ); wild places to go hiking or bird watching; history (most of the Revolutionary War took place in NJ!) and much, much more. And best of all, many parts of the state are within an easy commute of NYC and all it has to offer.
    I do think they could have come up with some better slogans but “Come See for Yourself” seems to say it best to me. Nobody would believe how much NJ has unless they see for themselves.

  3. I suspect, mauigirl, that you’re writing from a laptop on the volcanic beaches of Hawaii. If you were here, you’d know that the beaches are toxic, the air stifling, the suburbs boring, the wildlife slime-coated, the history mostly unspeakable, and Newark is in a deep funk, albeit one with rising real estate values.

  4. Hi Walleroo – I only wish I were in Maui…I do live here in Baristaville and only visit Maui on rare occasions! But I’m afraid I disagree with you overall. While I know there are environmental issues in NJ, they are improving. And certainly we have lots of wildlife that is not slime-coated, and I have no idea what you mean about our history being “unspeakable.” I’m talking about colonial history, of which we have much.

  5. When someone tells me “Come see for yourself,” my immediate response is “Why the hell should I?”
    Maybe I’ve lived in Jersey too long.

  6. Fran, I’ve never seen anythign inspire you like the NJ slogan. You may have a calling.
    You’re probably right, njholdem, I should move. In fact I already have in mind some bucolic town in Vermont, where I can stare over my morning joe at cows staring back over their cud. Oh what joy! What rapture! But alas, I’m not sure my paycheck would follow me north. Soon, however, that problem may go away on its own.
    mauigirl, I am truly sorry about your place of domicile. If it’s any consolation, in a few decades when the glaciers have had a chance to melt, the shore will probably wash right up to Baristaville, giving us all a view of the ocean, and turning Plofker’s monster houses on Christopher Street into even more valuable shorefront property. Perhaps he’ll open a casino.

  7. I’d only add to walleroo’s litany above (and he does seem to be in a sort of self-piteous funk there) that our beaches are as slime-coated as anywhere, or anyone, else in this state. New Jersey isn’t a bad place to live in many ways, it’s just not way up there. Anyone who’s ever seen the beaches of South Carolina, for example, knows there are beaches and then there are BEACHES.
    But, walleroo, from what I’ve seen of your mindset via this site (and no matter your current Eeeyore-like musings), you’d hate Vermont. For one thing, there is the enforced heartiness that all those Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders-electing liberals up there swear by. And so many farm women (nee leftover communards) without makeup and the endless wrangling over environmental issues and “mud season” and the lack of anything resembling real pizza or Italian bread and no Corrado’s and…..Far, far better to remain happily skeptical here than so very miserable among so many predictably controlling and predictable liberals, even if you ski.

  8. Eeyore-like? Why, that’s the nicest thing anybody’s said to me in many months. I aspire to Eeyore, though usually attain somethign closer to Elmer Fudd. Perhaps you’re right about Vermont, though. I’d have far more to complain about in nearby New Hampshire, where the neighbors like to shoot squirrels and ground hogs from their second-floor bathroom windows, and New Year’s parties are usually thrown in the fallout shelter amid the canned food and ammo. And the skiing is just as good.

  9. I have to admit the beaches in NJ, while lovely in and of themselves, are in many cases sullied with too many people blanket to blanket with blaring radios. When we go to the NJ shore, it is to Island Beach State Park, to one of the farthest beaches away from the madding crowds. In reality we prefer Cape Cod, where the parking situation limits the number of people who can access Nauset Beach even in mid-summer!

  10. you’re right, walleroo–the new jersey slogan has inspired me so much. how about:
    new jersey: where ‘formal wear’ means high heels with your yoga pants.

  11. New Jersey: where the only thing higher than the property taxes are the high school seniors
    New Jersey: not quite as cool as bruce springsteen makes it sound
    new jersey: because you can pick up transvestite hookers at the entrance to any tunnel you want!

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