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October 30, 2006

Opinion: Metronatural? You've got to be kidding me

DJC Publisher

There's really no way to put this delicately. Seattle's new slogan makes me want to barf.

If you haven't already heard, the slogan is Metronatural and as Dave Barry says, “I'm not making this up.'' The Seattle Convention and Visitor's Bureau's Web site defines Metronatural as “having the characteristics of a world-class metropolis within wild, beautiful, natural surroundings.'' We have that here, but so do Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco and Minneapolis.

The city's new tagline resulted from a $200,000 expenditure by the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau. A $300,000 advertising campaign featuring Metronatural is in the works, according to an Associated Press article.

Don't get me wrong. I think Seattle is a nice place to vacation. Seattle has a vibrant urban core. Mount Rainier and Puget Sound are splendid natural wonders, but coming on the heels of SayWA (remember that one?), the last thing we need is another stupid slogan.

Seattle should advertise itself as a vacation destination. We need to talk up our attributes, which are mild climate, a fun city and great summer outdoor activities. Seattle in the winter? There's a reason well-heeled Seattlelites are often found in Hawaii, Arizona, Whistler and Sun Valley during the rainy season. Trying to get conventions to come to town during the winter might work, but no one will come to Seattle based on a weak tagline.

A Google search of Metronatural came up with a lot of comments, many of which I can't print in a newspaper. During the 30 minutes I spent searching, I did not find a single positive comment. Perhaps the marketing firm that came up with the slogan has one on its site.

A few of the printable comments:

“I wondered how much Seattle paid these marketing ‘guys' to come up with this slogan. It's an embarrassment to the people of that fine city.'' (from Snarkaholic at Fark.com)

“I predict this, like the horrific “SayWA” campaign, will go the way of the dodo.'' (from Comte at thestranger.com/blog)

The Visitors Bureau declares, “Say Metronatural a few times and you will never forget it.” That might be correct, but I suspect out-of-towners won't say it a few times, and the ad campaign and the slogan will be quietly killed. As for me, I don't think I'll be so lucky. Try as I might, I can't get that ridiculous slogan out of my mind.

Phil Brown can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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