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The High Society:  Revised Identity Branding

Paul M. Muchinsky*

When I was a boy my parents and I would often go for a Sunday car ride. A game we would play was to record the number of different state license plates we would see. We would also record the slogan that each state had on its plate. It was sort of an unintended history lesson for me. For example, I learned that Illinois was the “Land of Lincoln” and Arkansas was the “Land of Enchantment.” I also learned that people from Oklahoma were rather modest because all they said about their state was “Oklahoma is OK.”
I understand these slogans were written to brand the identity of the state. But quite frankly, I find the slogans to be rather trite and banal. Furthermore, they never change, reflecting an obvious failure to grasp the evolving nature of society. I say it is time for the states to update their identities with some new slogans. As a service to the government of each state, The High Society takes public-sector identity branding into the 21st century.

Alabama  Honk if You Love Opossum
Alaska  The Russians Can See Us Too
Arizona  Papers, Por Favore
Arkansas Land of Impeachment
California More Area Codes Than Republicans
Colorado It’s All Downhill From Here
Connecticut Halfway Between Red Sox Nation and Yankee Universe
Delaware Three, Count’em Three, Electoral Votes
Florida  The Flaccid Phallus State
Georgia  Jawja Is Fur Gudspelrs
Hawaii  Birthplace of Barack Obama (Maybe)
Idaho  We Got a Smokestack but No Industry
Illinois  We Didn’t Invent Corrupt Government, but We Perfected It
Indiana  Preventing Lake Michigan From Bordering on Kentucky
Iowa  All Caucus, No Raucous
Kansas  Equidistant From Every Place You’d Rather Be
Kentucky Nationally Relevant 2 Minutes Per Year
Louisiana We Eat Gumbo, We Speak Mumbo Jumbo
Maine  Antarctica Lite
Maryland Not Much More Than Baltimore
Massachusetts Named After the Sound of a Pope Sneezing
Michigan Leading the Nation in Peninsulae
Minnesota Land of a Trillion Mosquitoes
Mississippi Y’all Stay Away Now
Missouri  Don’t Just Show Me, Do It For Me
Montana  Gateway to Saskatchewan
Nebraska #1 in the Witness Relocation Program
Nevada  VD, Vini, Vinci: I Came, I Saw, I Cankered
New Hampshire Baja Canada
New Jersey Wadda You Lookin’ At?
New Mexico There Is Nothing New About the Old West
New York Our Five Families Welcome Yours
North Carolina Home of NASCAR and Duke: WTF?
North Dakota Permafrost Capitol of the Nation
Ohio  Proud Buckle of the Rust Belt
Oklahoma Not at All Like the Musical
Oregon  Cold, Wet, and Disturbingly Gloomy
Pennsylvania Large and Rectangular, We Should Be in the Midwest
Rhode Island There Once Was a Town Called Pawtucket
South Carolina Home of the Toothless Grin
South Dakota How Many Mount Rushmores Do You Have?
Tennessee Famous for Our Waltz, Whiskey, and Williams
Texas  We Execute Jaywalkers
Utah  One Wife at a Time (Wink, Wink)
Vermont  Ben’s OK, but Jerry’s a Prick
Virginia  We Don’t Smoke nor Drink Norfolk
Washington Not DC, the Other One
West Virginia 1.9 Million People, Two Sets of DNA
Wisconsin Home of the Brat Diet
Wyoming Square in Every Way

If the concept of states using slogans to brand themselves isn’t annoying enough, it has spread to colleges and universities. That’s right; institutions of higher learning now brand themselves with some hip catchphrase. For example, my employer, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has for its slogan “Inspire Change.” I don’t know if they want us to break a dollar bill or become revolutionaries. Perhaps I will devote a future column to a literary dissection of this perverse phenomenon. Stay tuned.

* I thank my son, Brian, for his contributions to this column. We both wrote the funny ones. I purged his unfunny ones, but retained my own.