Friday, October 30, 2009

A Tip for Dayton

I can't stand it when people get all indignant and can't see the humor in things. Nothing is more unappealing to me than when an individual or an organization is so self-focused that they can't or won't allow for any self-deprecating laughs.

That said, this farm wife from Dayton HATES, HATES the "cow tipping" shirts that greet visitors at the Dayton (we offer connecting flights to Canada) International Airport.

Oh, you haven't seen them? I tried to take a photo during my most recent trip:



Right after I snapped the photo I was told by the Paradies Shop cashier that I wasn't allowed to photograph the shirts--they are copyrighted, apparently.

The shirts greeting visitors to Dayton--our suggested last-minute gift items to take home to loved ones--they say "Nothing Tips Like a Cow." So you see my quandary. It is sort of funny. It says, "hey honey, look what I brought you back from the middle of nowhere." It's Ohio, nothing here but cows, get it?


Call me no fun, or boring, or unappreciative of our strong agriculture base (of which I am a part), but I can't stand these shirts. So much so that on the way home I snuck up and took more photos through the shop's closed bars, with a friend standing guard.

So what's my problem? Why does the farm wife, of all people, dislike these shirts? Because I also work in public relations and branding. Because Dayton is struggling. We are struggling to grow our business base. We are struggling to retain the companies we have. And when companies leave, what is their excuse for leaving--that no one sees Dayton as a business destination. You know, it is rumored, that the non-Dayton CEO of a certain Dayton-founded company calls his employees in Ohio "the corn people."

WELL MAYBE IF WE DIDN'T REINFORCE THAT WITH COW TIPPING SHIRTS AT THE AIRPORT IT MIGHT HELP. Sorry.

I did a mini-interview with the Paradies Shop cashier and asked her, since the Dayton Airport is owned by the City of Dayton, who decides what goes in the stores. She said that Paradies has a Dayton-based manager who does the purchasing.

Let me just put forth a crazy idea. What if we invested a lot of money and had an out-of-town branding company come up with a unique way to graphically represent our current vision for Dayton with also a nod to the past. If they came up with something good, it might catch on and become the basis for a city branding campaign.

Nah, Dayton would never do that...


Yeah, it's just too bad we don't have ANYTHING better to graphically represent our city than an up-turned cow.

4 comments:

  1. I feel your pain. I've thought the same about Richmond, IN in terms of investing in a branding effort using an outside, professional company. (Here's my two cents worth: http://www.richmondbrainstorm.com/idea/create-community-pride-campaign.) There's a sign on I-70 east heading toward Richmond (about shopping, I think) regarding our city that says "It's like a step back in time." In terms of a community brand, I'd much rather be progressive and innovative. Anyway, I definitely agree with your post.

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  2. Thanks for the comments both here and on Facebook. I hope everyone gets that my last two sentences are dripping with sarcasm. Why isn't the store at the City-owned airport selling Dayton Original shirts--and matching stamp pads. Wouldn't that be a better impression for the business travelers passing through our region.

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  3. Completely agree with you Holly. Image is everything. Especially for business people whose only impression of Dayton is going to be the Airport. Now more than ever we need to portray Dayton as a city to relocate TO not a city to relocate FROM. One that is high tech and pro business.

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  4. it is rumored, that the non-Dayton CEO of a certain Dayton-founded company calls his employees in Ohio "the corn people.

    Public Relations

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