By Mark Okrant, NH Travel Guru
As a component of the April 28th NH Travel Guru column, we asked readers to submit slogans to replace the six year-old “Live Free and___” campaign, which is presently employed by the state’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development to promote visitation to the Granite State.
Your Guru’s decision to do this was not, in any way, a condemnation of the existing slogan. By all appearances and measures, it has been successful to date. The purpose of this exercise has been to further generate interest in travel and tourism, which plays a vital role in the continuing social and fiscal welfare of New Hampshire citizens.
Truth be told, state travel slogans—unlike state mottos—are rarely in place longer than half a decade. The “I Love New York” and “Virginia is for Lovers” campaigns are the exceptions, not the rule.
Throughout my residence in New Hampshire, which is approaching four decades, the state’s travel slogan has been replaced numerous times. Some of these have made complete sense, while one or two did not. My personal favorite was “We’re Better Natured,” as I thought it represented the state’s beautiful and varied physical attributes while highlighting the character of its resident population.
One of the worst slogans, and shortest of tenure, was the early eighties failed catchphrase, “Keeping Up with the Joneses” . . . talk about something we don’t concern ourselves with here.
In 2005, DTTD selected, “New Hampshire: You’re Going to Love it Here,” as it’s slogan. Other than risking an unfortunate mismanagement of homonyms, the slogan worked as a means to attract Baby Boomers and early Gen Xers into the state.
The present slogan, “Live Free and _____,” was adopted in 2012. It is simple, yet can be adapted to allow virtually every segment of the travel and tourism industry to get on the proverbial bandwagon. Furthermore, when combined with action scenes, it attracts younger visitors, especially Millennials, who will comprise the principal travel market for . . . you guessed it . . . generations.
Before announcing the winning slogan, allow me to address concerns about the idea of changing the state’s travel slogan. Some well-meaning respondents mistook the contest as an attack on our motto, “Live Free or Die.” Unlike travel slogans, state mottos are sacrosanct. In fact, ours is protected by state statute (i.e., the 1945 RSA Title 1, Chapter 3, Section 3.8). Therefore, to change our motto would necessitate action by both houses of the state legislature, our governor and council, and the governor her/himself. Each of these officials would be committing political suicide. Thus, there is a greater likelihood of floodwaters covering Mount Washington, which would necessitate a repetition of the events vividly described in Genesis Chapters 6-9.
At last, we are ready to announce the winning slogan. Following several days of online voting, “New Hampshire: It’s Only Natural” has been selected. The author of this entry has declared herself ineligible to receive the prize we offered. So, we have done the next best thing, and placed the names of all fifteen submitters into an Oklahoma State University cap. Patricia Horan will be receiving a copy of my latest Kary Turnell Mystery, “Two If By Sea,” upon its release this month. We will be contacting Patricia with the good news. Congratulations, and thank you to all who participated as authors and voters.
I can’t promise our readers that the winning slogan will be utilized in the near future. After all, “Live Free and____” appears to be succeeding nicely. But, nothing (other than state mottos) lasts forever. Meanwhile, it must be a comfort for the folks on Pembroke Road to know that a widely acclaimed replacement is waiting in the wings.
After forty years as an educator, researcher, and consultant, Mark Okrant joins IndepthNH.org to offer concise, informative insight into New Hampshire’s travel and tourism industry as a business, while showcasing the people and places you want to know. This guy’s really been around. And, he’s funny, too.
For more about Mark’s compelling tourism-based murder mystery series, visit www.markokrant.com.
For information on current things to do in New Hampshire, go to: http://www.visitnh.gov/what-to-do/event-calendar.aspx