A new logo for Austin, Minn. — meant to suggest the city's most famous export, Spam — drew so much criticism that on Monday, it got canned. The City Council unanimously voted against the proposed logo three weeks after it was unveiled.
"There was no tweaking it or anything like that," Mayor Tom Stiehm said Tuesday. "We had to start fresh."
While the logo, paired with the tagline "Talent Packed," was supposed to recall the classic product made by Hormel Foods Corp., some argued that it looked like a can of sardines. Residents also criticized the logo's focus on Hormel, its cost and the fact that it was created by a Minneapolis-based marketing agency, rather than one of Austin's own.
"Most everybody didn't like it right from the start," Stiehm said last week. In his seven years in charge of the southern Minnesota city, he said then, he's never fielded so many phone calls. "I haven't gotten one call in favor of it."
On Tuesday, Stiehm said he believes the controversy has been good for the city, involving many residents in an important process and "letting them know that the council listens to them."
The council will take some time before replacing its decades-old tree logo, which features the phrase, "Growing Together." Via its Facebook page, the city announced: "Watch for a logo contest in the coming months!"
The city had put $10,000 toward the "Talent Packed" logo's $58,000 price tag, which was also paid for by the visitors bureau, the Hormel Foundation and the Main Street Project. This time, it'll pay the contest winner "a couple thousand," Stiehm said.