This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Posts about Wisconsin

Schlemiel, Schlemazel

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: February 3, 2010 - 2:04 PM

Does Milwaukee have an image problem? Inasmuch as it has no image, yes. From the AP:

Milwaukee Alderman Terry Witkowski says respondents to a recent study failed to answer questions about Milwaukee's image and that could be because they have no perception of Wisconsin's largest city.

He says people often think Milwaukee is in Minnesota.

I don't know who the "people" are, but I hope they're not in Milwaukee. I suspect they may be people unclear about any city that isn't Chicago, New York, or LA - and Chicago they couldn't find on a map if you held their fingers and typed the word into Google Maps. The city wants a higher profile to attract businesses and conventions, of course, but even if they do boost their rep they'll only get the National Envelope Adhesive Trade Show or some such mid-level organization. The big groups will always go to the fun places, or the cities with pre-existing reps as civilized, clean, and amenity-packed. (Like us, he said, with unbearable smugness.) 

Not to say it's hopeless. It's been a long time since I was in Milwaukee, but I liked it fine; had a St. Paul vibe, old and German, with the stately majesty of towns whose big industrial booms spawned a solid, historic downtown. But Milwaukee had something else: BEER. Rather, beer history. If they're smart they'll design their promotional materials using typefaces and designs of the great era of American lager. Have a commercial in which someone starts singing "99 bottles of Beer on the wall," ending with the tagline "Milwaukee. You'll never finish all we have," or something like that. It would be much more apt than some committee-designed campaign with a modern typeface and a dull logo and meaningless slogan, like "Come for the air, stay for the gravity." For heaven's sake, people still remember Minneapolis as the setting for the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" - do something with "Laverne and Shirley." 

And do it fast, before this movie shows up on cable and ruins all your plans. 



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