Monday, October 24, 2005

Atlanta's attempt to brand itself isn't going too well.

The first stab at it, "The Three O's" has been massively mocked as the "The Three Ho's". Those who remember Stewart Avenue - I'm sorry, Metropolitan Avenue (what a difference a name change makes) know exactly where that's going.

Part of the problem is the focus: a battle that's been won and is old news (civil rights for black people), professional (black) athletes, (black) rap musicians, and an on-the-skids soft drink manufacturer. Nothing about, oh, say, nanotechnology, software systems, telecommunications, biotechnology, business schools. No, the advertising campaign is firmly rooted in the past, and in minority interests. No wonder it can't get traction.

I wouldn't mind so much, but this weekend I saw a presentation by a (black) software developer called Kito Mann, who's probably contributed more to advancing civilization than Michael Vick ever will. He's not "black" enough because he's an intellectual.

So long as Atlanta advertises itself in terms of professional sports, thug culture, and the civil rights movement, the rest of America is going to shrug and move on.

UPDATE: For example, the city of Atlanta will never talk about this.

It isn't really catering to a minority, Atlanta is mostly black. 61% actually.


The problem is that the majority of the people who identify themselves with Atlanta don't actually live in Atlanta.

Atlanta is failing at branding itself not because they are catering to the wrong demographic, but because they have no identity. Last time I was in Atlanta I drove through the downtown area at 10PM. It was completely empty! Sounds to me like they need to establish an identity besides "poster child for urban sprawl" before they can start branding themselves.
Well, I did say "America" will shrug and move on. Black people are about 12%of the US population. Branding yourself usually has to consider what the outside audience thinks.

Atlanta's selling itself to itself.
As for "poster child for urban sprawl", well, part of the reason is that the last few mayors have seen Atlanta as a way to line their pockets. Actually sponsoring quality of life improvements was not a concern. I mean, the last mayor had to flee town after his term was up.

Part of the reason crooks can get into office is the ease with which the race card can be played. A recurring feature of political races is one black candidate calling the other black candidate "white". That's a jab you have to get in early and often in order to win in Atlanta politics. The result is a race to the bottom: the gutter politician has a better chance than any. That can never bode well for a city's chances.
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