RENO, NV - Our mayor called it "embarrassing" and says it makes a "laughing stock" out of the city of Reno.
A proposed marketing slogan for the Reno-Tahoe region was thrown out this morning, after the mayor and other stake-holders in our economy complained: it makes a mockery of our community.
The slogan, "A Little West Of Center," comes from where we're located on a map,which is 'a little bit west' of the center of the United States. But our city mayor seems to believe there's a little too much room for interpretation.
Speaking as a private citizen, Mayor Cashell told the board he hates the idea of being referred to as a little west of anything--in fact, in reference to our target Bay Area tourism market, he says technically, we're a little bit east. Cashell says the slogan "West of Center" leaves too many openings for negative connotations.
"I'll leave it up to your imagination to think what those connotations are," said a worked-up Cashell.
Locals we spoke with agree that Reno, by the proposed name, just wouldn't be as sweet.
"I kind of think it sounds like we're a bunch of crazies," said Angie Terrell of Reno.
"I don't know what it means 'a little west of center.' I just really don't know," added longtime-local Leon Freedman.
So now it's back to the drawing board for RSCVA committee members who now have to think up a new slogan, and fast. Local casino owners say we're headed into one of the toughest economic winters we'll ever face.
"Timing is of great essence because we're going into 2009-2010 and Reno needs a boost,' said Glenn Carano, marketing director of the Silver Legacy Casino.
While board members ditched the 'West of Center' slogan, they are moving forward with the rest of the new campaign. It sells our area as "refreshingly offbeat" and uses a talking bighorn sheep to relay that message. The ads will focus on our best-kept secrets--things like Awful Awful burgers and camel races. Tourism execs say the campaign is meant to get rid of cringe-worthy words used in visitor's perceptions of our area, such like "armpit" and "desert town," and change people's attitudes for good.
"Why should I apologize to anybody for living in this area? This is a great area," said Mayor Cashell.
Now, if we could just decide what to call us. Locals gave us a few of their own suggestions.
"Uh, The Fun Place. Reno is a fun place." said Leon Freedman.
Added Freedman's wife, Jennie, "Get it-together town."
Or how about? "Stick with 'The Biggest Little City in the World. It's on the arch. What, are we gonna get a new arch too?" said Terrell.
The tourism board members say they plan to work very quickly on coming up with a new name--in fact they may even be meeting Friday morning to start brainstorming. There is no word yet on what our city's new logo will end up being, but Mayor Cashell says we have been and always will be, 'The Biggest Little City in the World.'
Marketing officials estimate the new campaign--once it gets a new name, could mean a 14 percent jump in the number of visitors to our area. The campaign cost more than $100,000 dollars so far, and marketing researchers used data from more than 11,000 interviews conducted with residents of Sacramento, the Bay Area, and other target markets across the United States.