Can “Stronger Than the Storm” Stand Up to the Backlash?

Stronger Than The Storm - ChristieAround New Jersey, small storms are brewing about the “Stronger than the storm” television and radio ads now running to entice visitors back to the Jersey Shore this summer.

The ads, developed by Brushfire Marketing Communications, a Cedar Knolls, NJ agency in just under three weeks, feature Governor Chris Christie (and, in some, his family). From the start of the ad campaign (paid in part by federal funds) there’s been controversy over whether Christie, who’s running for re-election, should be allowed to appear in federally-funded media ads, although many other governors have appeared in tourism ads in the past.

While key tourist towns have benefited from major rebuilding funds and attention, many shore (and even inland) communities are still in a weak position in respect to rebuilding efforts and scores of homeowners and small businesses are in limbo, awaiting insurance settlements and federal emergency funds. A Rutgers University poll reports that overall, Jersey residents rate the Shore recovery at only 6.4 on a 10-point scale.

A recent letter to the editor at seems to sum up Shore residents’ frustrations. Bob Conklin writes: “If you think New Jersey is really ‘stronger than the storm,’ just drive through Mantoloking, Ortley Beach, and Seaside Heights, where rubble from destroyed homes is still evident and ‘for sale’ signs dot the marred landscape. But don’t worry — the free advertising all the glitzy boardwalk vendors received through Christie’s ad campaign will keep those cash registers humming. Enjoy the beach, governor.”

Then there’s the background music in the ads, which some are calling very lame indeed (or in one case, “a bad version of 70s hair band pop”). The ad creators at Brushfire wrote the lyrics and hired a composer (wonder if they first asked Tom Waits about using his “down the shore everything’s all right” line from the Jersey Girl Springsteen hit). As for the resulting ditty, you decide. And hey, if you love the #STTS campaign, you might like their Facebook page.

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  1. Christie is the Gov. I don’t have a problem with him in the ad.

    The problem is the crappy ad. When another Sandy hits, we’ll see: we are NOT stronger than the storm. Imagine: “San Francisco, Stronger than the ‘Quake”.

    It’s a dumb idea for anyone to think he or she is “stronger” than Mother Nature. Stupid.

    Rather, a better idea would have been to remind NJ folks that much of the Shore remains a great place to vacation and that by choosing to vacation in NJ, you’ll find beautiful towns, beaches, AND you’ll be helping your State by “staying local.”

    STILL, NY’s “Rebuild” is just as bad as NJ’s. Having “famous” New Yorkers scolding me to “REBUILD,” is just terrible. Every time I see it, I imagine someone saying, “HOW, Mr. De Niro? How can I ‘rebuild’ when my insurance is screwing me?”

    I think a better example are the BP ads that feature the Directors of Tourism from Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana telling folks that the Gulf coast is cleaned-up, and that they should consider vacationing there (and their fun rivalry/interplay works well).

    Here’s one (I’m not commenting on BP, whether the facts are true, just what I think is a better idea for a commercial):

  2. “It’s a dumb idea for anyone to think he or she is “stronger” than Mother Nature. Stupid.”

    I’m reasonably sure it’s a metaphor, prof.

  3. Meh… Not having a problem with any of it, including the shore rebuilding effort, and I am not a fan of Christie’s. It’s an ad campaign, and he is our governor and a recognizable “brand” himself.

    Sorry to say this locals, but the business of the shore is business. Without the boardwalks and vendors open, then none of the rebuilt homes and businesses have customers. And if the economy fails, so too does the residential real estate market there.

    As for the “stronger” language. I think most people are aware that we are not “stronger” than nature. We are a part of it.

    My one issue is that they probably could have gotten Bruce and Bon Jovi and any number of jersey notables for free and didn’t do it.

  4. Aside from the song being horrible, I’ve no problem with it. Plenty of tourism ads for other states ignore existing conditions in less desirable areas of their state, so this isn’t much different.

  5. It’s a bunch of BS in my opinion. I was at our house on Saturday, going through what’s left of the shed and ripping out the last of the electrical in the sun room. Aside from my neighbor doing the same, we were the only people on the block – every house was empty. There was no traffic on the Causeway, which is usually backed up to the Parkway on a Saturday. Looked more like a ghost town the shore being back to me.

  6. Oh, it’s a metaphor…. I thought anyone who said it, wore a shirt, or had a “stronger than…” bumper sticker were claiming they had Superman-like powers to control the weather.

    Thanks clearing this up.

    …. It’s STILL a dumb slogan, a dumb ad, and a dumb message….

    Oh and montclairdad is right on the money!! The song is as terrible, terrible, terrible as the ad.

    The whole campaign is a mess!


  7. Stupid political, er, tourism campaign.

    It is pure hubris to say that We are stronger than the storm.

    As Rob Watson said a few years back, ““Mother Nature is just chemistry, biology and physics. That’s all she is. You cannot sweet-talk her. You cannot spin her. You cannot tell her that the oil companies say climate change is a hoax. No, Mother Nature is going to do whatever chemistry, biology and physics dictate, and Mother Nature always bats last, and she always bats 1.000”

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