Atlanta Has A New Slogan, So Y’all Get Down Here Now

I’m kinda glad that I don’t currently work on a travel/tourism account. Because it seems like every city has Vegas envy: a desperate desire to use an all-encompassing, open-to-interpretation slogan. Which works perfectly in Vegas, but in every other city, it’s a ploy to a) satisfy a bunch of different political and business types, and b) come up with a lame compromise when no one can really define a city.
From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Brand Atlanta, the group formed two years ago to help the city define its image, is switching from the use of slogans to sell the city to the use of themes aimed at specific demographics, Executive Director Melinda Ennis-Roughton said Thursday.
For instance, when the campaign rolls out its newest ads aimed at professionals ages 25-44 this January, the organization will use “City Lights, Southern Nights” — one of 16 tested themes — to emphasize Atlanta’s reputation as a youthful and energetic city, with great restaurants, shopping and nightlife, said Ennis-Roughton.
“It’s New York with Southern manners and charm,” she said.
The change comes after Brand Atlanta dropped the “Every day is an opening day” slogan when Ennis-Roughton took over in July. She said slogans don’t drive visitors, understanding of what a makes a city stand out from the crowd does.
“I went to New York last weekend and it wasn’t because of ‘I love New York,’ ” she said, referring to the Big Apple’s famous slogan. “It’s because I have been educated about all New York has to offer.”

New York with Southern manners and charm? I grew up here. This is not New York, Southern manners are getting rarer and rarer and all the charm is being bulldozed and replaced by McMansions. Which, of course, have have lawns we can’t water.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Marketing an entire city, especially trying to sum it up in one catchy phrase, is quite the task. I’m not sure how they did…

  2. Schrodinger's Copywriter says:

    I’ve worked on 90% travel and tourism accounts for a while now.
    your observation “a desperate desire to use an all-encompassing, open-to-interpretation slogan” is true, but i would suggest the reason is because many travel and tourism accounts are run by state bureaucracies and are very politically-driven. so you have state workers (not known for a desire to rock the boat) running the account, who have to answer to gigantic committees of local business owners and political appointees, who all want to feel their pet issue is being appropriately stroked by the advertising slogan.
    happily, there are some great city and state tourism accounts who “get it” such as vegas, miami, nyc, the state of minnesota, and others.

  3. When I was in Atlanta their tagline was, “The city too busy to hate.” I always thought that was funny. I mean, god forbid they get some free time.
    The idea of Southern hospitality always kind of struck me funny too. They wallpaper their face with a smile and bring up the pitch of their voice. But their eyes could never quite live up to the image. No, the eyes always told the truth. And the truth was the same as it is anywhere else. Except being repressed made it a little darker.

  4. The Bullshit Observer breaks it down! Thanks Todd.
    As you might know, I’m a Midwestern boy currently living in the South. And you nailed it. Southern hospitality is utter bullshit and pretending that it truly exists is “darker.”
    I come from a place where people say what they mean and mean what they say. To my mind that’s a much more hospitable approach.

  5. Well, it beats the old slogan, which cost plenty but fell flat immediately. I do disagree with the idea the Southern hospitality is a myth. It’s in regression maybe, and increasingly outnumbered, but you can still find it now and then, and I think it belongs in a slogan, if for nothing else than to give Atlantans something to live up to. I always thought a good simple slogan would be “Goodness. Gracious. Atlanta.” Especially if it were conceivably true. But it rings hollow if you watch the local news these days.