- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 20, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — The city is trying yet another promotional slogan, after decades of attempting to arrive at catchy, appropriate one.

City officials have declined to confirm the selection of the slogan “Get In On It,” but the Baltimore Sun reports the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association has submitted four trademark applications to secure its use.

Early reviews for the slogan were mixed.

“I’ve seen some dumb ones in the past, but this is the dumbest,” Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, also a former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor, said through a spokesman.

Baltimore City Councilwoman Rochelle Spector simply asked: “Get in on what?”

This is not the first time the city has been ridiculed for its slogans: “Charm City,” “The City that Reads” and “The Greatest City in America.”

Branding specialist Eric Swartz, founder of TaglineGuru.com, said “Get In On It” is a vast improvement.

“‘Get In On It’ sounds provocative, inviting, sounds like there’s something to discover,” he said. “It’s vague enough to have an appeal to people who are not familiar with Baltimore. It’s an invitation.”

City officials paid consultant Landor Associates $500,000 over the past nine months to come up with the slogan.

The newspaper reported other slogan finalists included “The City You Savor,” “Breeze Into Baltimore,” “All City, No Hurry” and the cryptic “Enjoy The Pace.”

Nancy Hinds, a convention and visitors association spokeswoman, said the new slogan will be announced at a ceremony Wednesday, as the city prepares for the tourism season, and that it was just one element of a new branding strategy.

“Whatever the tagline is, it’s only half the story,” she said. “It’s far more than just a slogan.”

Mr. Swartz said Las Vegas’ slogan, “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” provided a model for other cities to follow. Earlier attempts to promote Las Vegas as a family-friendly destination led to a decrease in business.

San Francisco-based Landor Associates has come up with slogans for such locations as Florida, Hong Kong and Madrid, Spain, as well as for brands including Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Landor Associates director of brand strategy, Susan Palombo, told Mayor Martin O’Malley in November that many people have a poor perception of Baltimore, largely because of such TV dramas which focus on the city’s crime and drug problems.

Mrs. Palombo said the city should build on its unique character and not try to “out-monument” Washington or “out-Disney” Orlando, Fla.

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