By Stephen Vance, Staff
Meaford Councillor Barb Clumpus lost her bid for the municipality to discontinue use of the branding slogan “The Other Big Apple” after council voted against a resolution brought before council on February 18.
“I think this tag-line has outlived its usefulness in terms of a marketing campaign,” Clumpus told council when introducing her resolution.
Clumpus said that she had hoped to discontinue use of the slogan before the annual municipal promotional materials were printed and distributed, however her fellow council members were not supportive of her request, and CAO Denyse Morrissey told council that abandoning the municipal slogan would leave the municipality without a “brand” which could lead to another branding project in the future.
“It would leave Meaford without a tag-line or a brand,” Morrissey told council. “Usually if you want to brand, and you’re without a brand, usually you would initiate a new branding exercise which traditionally costs money.”
Morrissey said that a pending report on the update of the Meaford Economic Development Strategy (MEDS) will discuss the branding issue.
“The report was going to outline for you the discussion items that you have to take into consideration by eliminating the tag-line and branding, and what your strategy is going forward. If there is no brand, then Meaford stands alone. I think council needs to understand the scope of implications by removing it,” offered Morrissey.
Some members of council defended the slogan. Councillor Deborah Young told council that she regularly receives compliments on the logo and slogan on the apple shaped business cards that were introduced when the slogan was originally unveiled. Councillor Clumpus told council in response that she “scratches out” the “Other Big Apple” slogan from her cards.
Deputy Mayor Harley Greenfield expressed frustration that the slogan and associated branding and promotional materials seem to be well received outside the municipality, while within the municipality the slogan is widely criticized.
Only Deputy Mayor Harley Greenfield supported the motion brought forward by Clumpus to abandon the slogan, with the remaining four councillors (Councillor Mike Poetker was absent from the meeting) voting against the motion.
The controversial slogan was adopted unanimously by council in March of 2011.
The process to re-brand Meaford began several months prior when the services of a consultant were engaged to develop a new image for the municipality in 2010. That consultant spent a considerable amount of time over several weeks during the summer of 2010 visiting with local businesses, service clubs, and residents in general, to learn what made Meaford special, and to discover how those most intimately connected to Meaford viewed themselves and their community.
Two public input sessions were also held at Meaford Hall and Woodford Hall which allowed residents to offer their thoughts about how to market Meaford.
Branding concepts were then created and presented to council who then asked that another public input session be held to seek out community input about the designs that were proposed at the time.
“The Other Big Apple” was one of those concepts, and the consultant indicated that it was included at the request of then CAO Frank Miele who believed that it would be an effective marketing slogan for the municipality – though the option was dismissed by participants in the public input sessions.
The “Other Big Apple” option was also dismissed by council during a meeting in August of 2010. Councillors at that time instead focused on two slogans- “Shaped by the shore,” and “Rising above the bay.”
In a poll conducted on The Meaford Independent website in August of 2010, “The Other Big Apple” found support of just 7.4 percent of those who voted with “Shaped by the Shore” and “None of the above” each garnering roughly 37 percent of the votes.
With the 2010 municipal election approaching, it was decided to postpone any decision of a direction for a new brand campaign until after the new council was elected.
In March of 2011, the newly elected council gave unanimous approval to the slogan which Miele introduced with great fanfare including the introduction of a Statue of Liberty scarecrow.