Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Live Like You Mean It - In A Van, Down By The River

“I am thrice divorced, and I live in a van, down by the river.” Immortal words of motivational speaker Matt Foley, one of the many hilarious and memorable characters created for Saturday Night Live by Madison’s own Chris Farley.

The state’s tourism folks may as well have appended Farley’s line to their new slogan, “Live Like You Mean It”. It would have at least lent some originality and Wisconsin flavor to a hackneyed phrase that’s been used by everything from a rum purveyor to a book on how to stop being fat.

Baldy unveiled the new/old/recycled slogan in LaCrosse a few days ago, with the green letters WISCONSIN (aren’t we earth-friendly….green letters) overtopped by a red man (no, not a native American…a man rendered in red ink) doing a cartwheel across the green letters. Red, for those of you who can actually see it (I am red color-blind) is supposed to mean ENERGY.

Never mind that there are only a handful of ‘sconnie guys who can actually DO a cartwheel.
Sarah Klavas, who is the “brand manager” for the state, told the Associated Press she saw no contradiction in using a recycled slogan to promote the state’s originality. For those of you who haven’t checked lately, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s website calls itself the “home of original thinking”.

Say what? ORIGINAL??

The Milwaukee outfit Red Brown Kle' charged us taxpayers 50 grand to foist this new slogan upon us, one which they knew full well had been used by scores of other outfits, and fully disclosed that fact to the tourism bosses two months before it was “unveiled“ a few days ago.

Those folks at Tourism claim it’s a 13-billion-dollar business in Wisconsin, and plenty of us in south-central Wisconsin know first-hand how many primary and secondary jobs depend on tourism, and I’m not just talking about the Dells.

No less an editorial juggernaut than the Sheboygan Press opines “a tourist or visitor judges his or her travel experiences mainly on how well they are treated”. True dat…on our recent Spring Training odyssey to Arizona, we were treated like royalty by everybody from Sky Harbor Airport to the hotel to the ball parks.

The point is, more than any slogan or logo, it’s up to us ‘sconnies to make visitors welcome and enjoy their visit and make them want to come back.

“Live Like You Mean It” probably doesn’t hurt anything, but it probably doesn’t DO anything to make people want to come here.

I’d rather have something like “great beer, great cheese, no toll roads”.


  1. “great beer, great cheese, no toll roads”.


    Personally, I don't see why slogans HAVE to change. I mean, hasn't "I (heart) NY" way outlived however many slogan changes New York has made? For a soft drink, yeah. For a bank, yeah...though all those changes just kind of blur after a while.

    Didn't the slogan used to be something like "You've got friends"? Even "Escape to Wisconsin" was better than "Live Like You Mean It".

    Beats MY pair of jacks...

  2. I think the slogan was "You're among friends." It was dropped after it was revealed that the phrase is often used in the gay community. After all, we wouldn't want to attract gay tourists, would we? They might infect our young'uns.

  3. Looking at the fellow getting on the bus, with the baggy pants, brimmed cap pulled low, the oversized tee shirt replete with logo of some toxic beverage.

    Wisconsin Generation of Idiots

  4. How 'bout:

    "Our sights is best, 'cuz we tax and fee our underemployed schleps 'til their noses bleed to make your stay so pleasant."


    "Wisconsin, our greatest export is our children to states with jobs; next time you visit please bring our kids."


    "Your now amoung Wisconsin's multiple-DUI culture - if you survive your stay, please take a drunk back with you!"


    I am only charging $13.95 apiece for these fine slogans. Twenty bucks, will take them both home. Hey, anyone seen my beer?

    Bob Keith