Chicago suburb to sponsor college bowl game

The competition between suburbs can be intense and Elk Grove Village has a new way to stand out: sponsor a college bowl game to be played in the Bahamas.

The village and ESPN announced Tuesday that Elk Grove will be the title sponsor of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, to be played Dec. 21 in Nassau, Bahamas, using the village’s business marketing tag line. The village is spending $300,000 to sponsor the game, which will air on ESPN. The game had previously been sponsored by Popeyes.

It marks the first time a non-tourist municipality has sponsored a bowl game, the village and ESPN say…

Johnson wanted a way to expand the reach of the village’s “Makers Wanted” campaign, which launched in 2015 to promote the village industrial park — at 6 square miles, the largest contiguous one in the country. The campaign has included a website, billboards, TV and radio commercials, and print ads…

The fee to sponsor the bowl game is part of a $400,000 increase the board approved in its contract with Lombard-based Red Caffeine, the marketing company that developed the Makers Wanted campaign. The other funds will pay for new Elk Grove TV commercials set to air regionally on cable news channels this fall.

It is not uncommon for states to mount such campaigns. For example, see efforts by Texas, Indiana, Florida, and isconsin to draw residents and businesses from Illinois. It is more rare for a single suburb to mount such a campaign on a national scale.

However, conspicuously missing from this article is any evidence that such campaigns work. Can the village conclusively show that the campaign started in 2015 has (1) increased the number of businesses in the community and (2) revenues have increased because of the moves?

This could also be about the status of the suburb. The Chicago area has scores of suburbs and communities often want to stand out. This is why they might seek to change a motto, a logo, or run campaigns to distinguish themselves from others. Such a marketing campaign can make a suburb feel better about itself and local leaders can show they are being proactive regarding growing their community (and growth is good).

It will be very interesting to see whether the football audience helps advance the goals of the suburb and if they are willing to renew their sponsorship for another year past the first. The mayor is claiming the news about the campaign has already helped the suburb (suggesting 95% of the value has already been realized) but the long-term prognosis will take some time to sort out.

Suburbs consider mottos, branding efforts

In an effort to stand out, a number of Fox Valley area suburbs are considering mottos and branding campaigns:

Oswego is looking for a motto, as well as a logo and marketing strategy, to better identify its image and solidify its place in the region.

Michele Brown, community relations manager, said Oswego wants to be a regional destination for economic development and tourism…

Carpentersville’s slogan is “Building a Better Tomorrow…Today.”

Village officials, including staff and board and commission members, are working on a rebranding campaign with the goal of changing Carpentersville’s public perception…

North Aurora last year went through a rebranding process that came up with a new logo and the motto “Crossroads on the Fox.” This came after months of debate over nine design options with dozens of variations.

Usually, these are pitched as efforts to attract businesses and residents. Think of those Bedford Park or Elk Grove Village ads that run in the Chicago area – having a catchy motto or campaign sounds better in an advertisement. Whether such campaigns work or simply help the community feel better about its efforts is another story. At the least, branding is an effort at local boosterism as businesses and residents can choose among hundreds of Chicago area communities.

But, not every suburb wants such branding:

Some towns, though, have made a conscious decision to not wear the label of a slogan or motto, like Wheaton, Naperville and Carol Stream.

Presumably, these are communities that are more comfortable with who they are and/or don’t feel like they have a negative public image.

Of course, mottos can signal things other than being open to growth like New Lenox which was selling itself in ads as “home to proud Americans.”

Mexico City changes its name

Last week, Mexico City officially received a new name:

President Enrique Peña Nieto officially changed the capital’s name to “Mexico City” on Friday as part of a reform to devolve power from the federal government, allowing the city’s mayor to name senior officials including the police chief…

The reform moves Mexico City – the area of nearly nine million people surrounded on three sides by the grungy suburbs of Mexico State – closer towards becoming a state in its own right…
Campaigners – mostly on the left – started pushing for an end to the Federal District after the devastating 1985 earthquake, after an inept federal response left millions to fend for themselves. Leftwing movements rose from the wreckage, achieved political reforms and won the first mayoral and assembly elections in 1997…

Some analysts warned of potential confusion caused by adding a capital called “Mexico City,” to a country already named Mexico, whose biggest state is the “State of Mexico”.

It sounds like nothing may change from the outside. However, relationships between the city government and federal government as well as city residents and other residents of Mexico may be impacted.

Perhaps city residents who live in a major city that also doubles as a national capital have a unique urban experience? This article suggests that Mexico has a centralized system, centered in Mexico City, which may mirror other countries (London in England, Paris in France, etc.) where the most important city is also the capital. In contrast, other countries have capitals outside of their major city with the United States as a prime example with a space away from New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The misspelled band name intended to enhance Internet searches

The Scottish band Chvrches spelled their name in such a way to help separate themselves online:

Chvrches, deliberately misspelled to maximize Google-search recognition, formed after Mayberry, Cook and Doherty were slogging through indie-rock bands and day jobs.

A tactic only for the Google search result age. Bands can go through all sorts of hoops to select a good name that reflects who they are as well as attracts the attention of consumers. I’m reminded of how the Beatles selected a name – multiple name changes in the early years and resisting the influence of the day to be something like John Lennon and the Beatles (have the group name reflect the lead singer/personality) – versus how Blur selected theirs – off a list of potential names given to them by a label executive. (For a fun Wikipedia time, check out this page with hundreds of band name etymologies.) Today, you can add to the list the strategy of taking a common name or phrase and then tweaking it in such a way that no other Internet personality could overlap. Still, I can hear the conversations even among fans:

I like that song. Who is the artist.

Chvrches.

Great. Wait, I can’t find anything about them online.

Yeah, they have a v rather than a u in their name.

Oh, there they are…

Branding battle: “Chiraq” vs. “Chicago Epic”

Spike Lee and the city of Chicago have opposing views of how the city should be viewed. First, from Lee:

No sooner did the Wrap report that notable director Spike Lee has been tapped by Amazon Studios to make a movie titled Chiraq did the controversy and backlash begin to grow online because of the movie’s title. It wasn’t Lee who coined “Chiraq,” however. Chicago residents who have experienced the deadly shootings in “The Chi” gave it the moniker of Chiraq. The term combines Chicago with Iraq to compare the violence of the two places, as witnessed in the below documentary video previously released about “Chiraq,” but unrelated to Spike’s forthcoming movie…

Alderman Anthony Beale says Chiraq should have a new title, reports CBS Local. Beale adds that he doesn’t care what other name Lee uses for his new movie, but that it shouldn’t be Chiraq due to the violent images it brings forth. The alderman from the 9th ward didn’t make mention of the nickname coming from other sources than Lee.

Another politician was more forgiving of the Chiraq title. Senator Dick Durbin said he’d first like to give Spike a chance to explain what the Chiraq movie is all about before passing judgment. Although he says the Chiraq title is worrisome, he admitted he doesn’t know much more about the movie than the title.

Other politicians weighed in on Spike’s Chiraq, reported the Chicago Sun-Times?. Although Alderman Beale continued to point out criticisms, claiming Lee was stigmatizing Chicago with the Chiraq nickname, Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused to go that far. The mayor would only say that he’s focusing on the safety of the city.

Second, this news comes as the city is launching a national ad campaign to bring more tourists to Chicago:

The campaign, dubbed “Chicago Epic,” features a visually diverse 30-second TV commercial and far-flung ambitions. Target markets include San Francisco and Denver, but viewers throughout the country will likely see the spot over the next six weeks. Whether it changes minds about Chicago, or travel plans, remains to be seen…

Choose Chicago is funding the summer campaign with $2.2 million, up slightly from last year. About half of that budget will go to TV and online video. The rest will go to digital advertising, social media and paid search, hoping to sway online travel bookers as they plan their getaways…

Created by ad agency FCB Chicago, an 80-second long-form video was whittled down to a 30-second spot for the TV campaign. The spot features a distinctively Chicago voice urging visitors to be “part of something epic,” incorporating scenes of Divvy bikes, Lollapalooza, North Avenue Beach, Wicker Park and Alinea, recently named the best restaurant in the world by Elite Traveler. The forearms of renowned mixologist Charles Joly, which feature a tattoo of the Chicago flag, also have a starring role. Michael Jordan, the Chicago Theatre marquee and even the Chicago skyline ended up on the cutting-room floor for the edited TV spot…

“I think we’ll make ‘Chicago Epic’ as famous as ‘I Love New York,'” Fassnacht said. “That’s one of our goals — we have to make this iconic.”

There are several ways to view these competing narratives that could go a long way to influence the branding of the city:

1. Both contain elements of truth. Both don’t tell the full story. Chicago has experienced a lot of violence, even with murder rates that are significantly lower than in the past. Chicago has numerous interesting sites, even if many of its neighborhoods don’t match the glittering tourist locations.

2. The city of Chicago has said they want to boost tourism. This would help bring in more money and boost the city’s profile. Tourism is the sort of industry that can take advantage of existing locations and infrastructure (like the world’s busiest passenger airport) without requiring many big changes.

3. Chicago is clearly a global city and yet there is ongoing anxiety about whether Chicago can hold to its spot or whether it can truly compete with the cities at the top of the list.

4. It is unclear which narrative will win out.

Bad building names in NYC

Curbed has put together a list of some of the worst building names in New York City. Here are some of the contestants:

Weird Spellings of Addresses

260N9 leads us into our first category: buildings that are almost just going by their addresses, but have decided to randomly spell out numbers, or abbreviate and/or combine words to create some monstrosity that no one will ever say out loud. 2ND7TH is a recent offender in this category, as is Five FortyOne, and, less recently, Twenty9th Park Madison. These types of buildings also sometimes like to combine a random word with the number from the address, such as Colony 1209, which sounds like it’s on the moon.

Human Names

Another very common approach often taken by building namers is to name them as one would a human child, with a “the” in front. This can result in condos that sound like your grandfather (The Seymour, The Leonard) or a pop star (The Adele, The Robyn) or…just some guy…that you live inside of. (That one, The Nathaniel, gets an additional dishonorable mention for being named after the protagonist in an Ayn Rand novel.)…

Anything With the Word “Mews”

A mews is a row of stables and carriage houses constructed around a paved courtyard. The few that still exist in New York City have, for the most part, seen the stables torn down and replaced by houses which essentially now exist on a private and secluded dead-end street—a rarity, obviously, in Manhattan. This makes them quite coveted. It has also led a number of condo developers to call their buildings, erroneously, Soho Mews, Chelsea Mews, Carlton Mews, etc.

Names That Sound Like Things They’re Not Supposed To

Had no one involved in the creation of Jade8 ever heard of J-Date? Did no one on the development team behind Mantena think to Google that word? Other honorable mentions in this category include BKLYN Air, which sounds like an off-brand sneaker, and MiMa, which sounds like something you call your grandmother. And then there’s the Isis Condominium on the Upper East Side (h/t to commenter newkyz). Though that one isn’t exactly the developers’ fault (it was developed in 2008), it has declined to change its name, unlike the Isis in Miami.

This list suggests buildings suffer from the same name problems that face subdivisions or suburban streets. Builders are looking to brand their construction so the names often deliberately invoke other liked objects, such as a well-regarded address (it’s the location to be in!) or the past (we’re invoking the grandeur of history!). Does the branding itself reveal much about the architecture or design of the building and its units? Probably not. Do the mews buildings have more garden/leisure space? Do the address buildings make a unique contribution to the neighborhood? Of course, more functional or accurate names would have to be longer and wouldn’t be able to quickly invoke such images.

The next step here in this analysis might be to look at the relative values of these different properties by name. Take two buildings in similar settings: does having mews in the title add value or would the owners be better offer with an address name?