The Garden State’s new tagline isn’t a rose

The powers that be in Trenton have decided it’s time to replace New Jersey’s longstanding marketing tagline ("New Jersey and you: perfect together") with a new statement.

There’s been a web site created and a contest initiated to select the new tagline. Recently, the state government released the five finalists chosen by some eight thousand residents who obviously have a lot of time on their hands.

My favorite was "New Jersey: Expect the unexpected." One can only imagine the material Jay Leno’s or David Letterman’s joke writers could generate if "expect" becomes the winning slogan.

In thinking through possible illustrations of NJ’s "Expect the unexpected" tagline, I came up with a few possible highlights for an ad campaign:

1.) "Leading the nation in toxic waste sites. New Jersey. Expect the unexpected."
2.) "More cars (and more car thefts). New Jersey. Expect the unexpected."
3.) "If our politicians don’t rip you off, our car insurance rates will." New Jersey. Expect the unexpected."

And so on and so on. If the Garden State really needs a new marketing tagline, lawmakers should choose something that New Jersey alone can "own," rings true and doesn’t invite immediate derision. How about these:

1.) "New Jersey: nowhere to go but up"
2.) "New Jersey: we glow in the dark."
3.) "New Jersey: more goodfellas and less good air"

Whatever the final decision, let’s hope the new tagline reflects an accurate picture of what it’s like to live in the Garden State (and doesn’t reinforce NJ as being the joke of the entire country).

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