Governor Hickenlooper’s administration raised a lot of eyebrows this summer when after burning through nearly $1 million, Aaron Kennedy, the Noodles & Co. founder turned governor’s marketing guru, unveiled a completely blah logo. At the time of the widely-panned unveiling, Kennedy paid a lot of lip service to the massive collaboration that went into the design and selection of the new logo. In fact, his own website called this effort “the most inclusive, collaborative, and ambitious branding effort ever taken on by a state.”
Except that based on what Kennedy stepped into during a meeting on Wednesday with some of the top tourism experts in the state, it is obvious that his collaboration was lacking. Apparently, there is already a marketing campaign that the state has been using, complete with the (gasp) C-logo from the state flag, that works for regional tourism executives in the state called “Come to Life”. In fact, they were under the impression that Kennedy’s new logo was somehow going to crowd out the “Come to Life” marketing campaign.
In what was described as a “contentious” session until these top state tourism executives had assurance that “Come to Life” would not be diminished by the new marketing campaign, Kennedy was forced to defend his plan and lay out his vision for attendees of the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing members. This rocky start to the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Telluride was simply brushed off as a “miscommunication.”
But not so fast. If Kennedy was creating an overarching brand identification program, how could senior executives in the tourism industry, the second largest industry in the state, be left in the dark? Is this what Hickenlooper’s marketing guru means by the “the most inclusive, collaborative, and ambitious branding effort ever taken on by a state”?
And, if we already have what the state claims is a very successful print and marketing campaign in the form of “Come to Life”, wouldn’t it have been much more efficient to simply leverage some of the resources from that campaign to create the new logo, which we still assert is a solution looking for a problem?
This is simply another data point that demonstrates the Hickenlooper administration’s poor stewardship of our resources. His request for another $1 billion per year to do who knows what with is a dangerous proposition.