- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Make us a slogan we can’t refuse, the state of New Jersey said. We got your slogan right here, the people replied.

A push to come up with a new slogan for the Garden State has become an excuse to crack New Jersey jokes. Among the not-so-serious entries:

“New Jersey: You Got a Problem With That?”

“NJ: How You Doin’?!”

And “Most of Our Elected Officials Have Not Been Indicted.”

The search yielded nearly 6,200 possibilities, many of them attempts to sum up the land of Bruce Springsteen, “The Sopranos” and smelly interstates in one pithy phrase. The deadline for submissions was yesterday.

“We’re really pleased with the response and proud that New Jersey residents take so much pride in their state,” said Kelley Heck, a spokeswoman for acting Gov. Richard J. Codey.

The program began last month after Mr. Codey rejected a consultant’s recommendation — “New Jersey: We’ll Win You Over” — as too negative. That slogan, developed as part of a $260,000 contract by global image consultants Lippincott Mercer, was shelved a day before it was to be announced.

Instead, the state opened the process to the public, establishing a Web site and hot line to receive suggestions, which included the lyrical (“The Ocean, The Motion, The Magic”) and the satirical.

New Jersey, which once used “New Jersey and You: Perfect Together,” has not had a new marketing slogan in four years. “Get Away, Without Going Far Away” has been used in the interim, but tourism officials say it does not resonate with out-of-staters.

“We have the opportunity to craft a new message for our tourist literature to reflect the pride we have in our many parks, open spaces, farmlands, quaint villages, boardwalks and beaches and our exciting cities,” Mr. Codey implored would-be slogan writers on the Web site.

The governor and the state Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission will “pare down the suggestions and go from there,” said Karen Wolfe, a spokeswoman for the commission.

The state’s musical legacy — Frank Sinatra called New Jersey home; Mr. Springsteen still does — led one person to suggest “From Ol’ Blue Eyes to the Boss: Jersey Is Singing Your Song.” Another entry: “Born to Fun.”

Others found New Jersey’s reputation for mobsters, toxic-waste sites and lowbrow taste fair game.

“Bada Bing! Choose New Jersey” was one suggestion.

The campaign was run by the state, but newspaper columnists, talk radio and “Saturday Night Live” got into the spirit, too.

“New Jersey: It Always Smells Like This,” one Philadelphia Inquirer reader suggested. “New Jersey: Come Glow With Us,” another said.

Mr. Codey and his staff will evaluate the slogan proposals and, within two weeks, pick five or 10 to put to a public vote.

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