June 21, 2006
Manitoba's Spirited Energy Slogan Is A Misguided Effort
I just can't get Manitoba's new Spirited Energy slogan out of my mind.
Not because it's a great, or even a good, slogan. In my opinion, the Manitoba slogan is a misguided effort at best.
Judging by the recent press coverage and letters to the editor, most Manitobans are disappointed with the new slogan and its cost.
Here's a sampling of recent headlines:
- New brand is, in a word, lame-o
- Crybabies brand? 'Spirited energy' guy hates criticism
- We won't be branded like union cattle
- Public divided on new 'spirited energy' slogan (The Winnipeg Free Press)
- Feel it? Not yet (The Winnipeg Free Press Editorial)
- Branding plan fails to sizzle (The Winnipeg Free Press)
- Slogans! We don't need no stinkin' slogans! (The Winnipeg Free Press)
I think the Spirited Energy slogan is the symptom and the process of developing the slogan is the cause.
Let me explain. I think the objectives of the Manitoba slogan were aimed at too many key audiences, each with conflicting needs. The official Spirited Energy website indicates that the target market, or key audiences, are:
- Youth (18-25 year olds)
- General public
How can any one slogan or marketing initiative serve so many diverse audiences? It can't.
That's the core weakness of the Spirited Energy slogan. It's set out to satisfy too many Manitoban constituencies. Hopefully, the consulting firm that developed the slogan brought this to the attention of the Manitoban Image Strategy Development Task Force.
Furthermore, if the Spirited Energy slogan were targeted only to the 18-25 year olds, would that keep them from leaving Manitoba or encourage them to return? I think not.
If the Spirited Energy slogan were targeted only to the general public, would Manitobans feel better about poor garbage service, potholes, and other shortcomings? I think not.
If the Spirited Energy slogan were targeted only to businesses, would they be more interested in coming to Manitoba? Maybe. Maybe not. The pro-union attitude would be a barrier, but access to hydro power might be a plus.
If the Spirited Energy slogan were targeted only to tourists, would it encourage more tourism? Probably not. As I mentioned in my June 15th post announcing the new slogan, this is a generic slogan that could apply to numerous geographic locations - provinces, states, countries, cities, and towns.
Would Manitoba be better off doing what the what the Czech Republic just did? They abandoned their current slogan, Come and Slow Down, and returned to their previous slogan, A Symphony for the Senses. I say Yes. Friendly Manitoba has much broader appeal and meaning than Spirited Energy ever will.
Would Manitobans be better off doing what Tazmania is doing? The "Tasmanian government has given people from all walks of like the chance to have a say, [regarding a new slogan], instead of hiring a marketing agency to devise [a new slogan]". Only Manitobans can answer this question.
Manitoba, as well as many other political entities, should correct the root cause of its problems rather than relying on a slogan or marketing campaign alone to change perceptions. The government needs to walk the walk before talking the talk.
One final thought: could Manitoba build on its Friendly Manitoba slogan by adding to it? Such as, Friendly Manitoba. Always.? Or, is this a misguided suggestion? Again, only Manitobans can answer this question.
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