Leader Blues

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

TOP STORY > >City to adopt a new slogan

Leader staff writer

“Soaring Higher” or “Catch the Spirit”—which would be Jacksonville’s new logo for the near future? That’s the question the city’s advertising and promotion commission tackled last week.

The panel also decided on a new design to go with the logo.

A week earlier, the commission had decid ed on “Soaring Higher,” but at Monday’s meeting there was a push for the logo “Catch the Spirit” which the chamber had been using for about a year.

Most commissioners said they could live with either one. Commissioners Jim Hurley and Mike Houchen leaned toward “Soaring Higher.”

“‘Catch the Spirit,’ is good,” said Houchen, “but after you catch it what do you do with it?” He felt that phrase was more passive, while “Soaring Higher” was more proactive.

In the end, the commissioners reaffirmed their decision to go with “Soaring Higher.” The panel also voted for a design that included that logo, a maroon-colored Jacksonville written in script with an eagle coming up through the middle of it representing both the air base and the city soaring higher.

Both the logo and design come from the Sells Agency of Little Rock which was hired earlier this year by the advertising and promotion commission. The agency has a three-year contract worth at least $150,000 a year to promote and market Jacksonville.

Now that the commission has locked in a logo and a design, the agency will develop an advertising campaign centered on the logo and design.

The agency says it plans to advertise in various newspapers during the Little Rock Air Force Base open house weekend in October and will also rent two billboards off Hwy. 67/167 — one northbound and one southbound — to advertise and promote the city.

The agency’s goal is twofold: to improve the image of Jacksonville, both in and out of the city, and to bring more visitors to the city’s hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions.

Besides the slogan and logo design, the agency is also implementing a survey of 200 residents, 200 Pulaski County residents and 200 statewide residents to determine what people think about when they think “Jacksonville.” The results of that telephone survey will be presented at a commission meeting in September.

The agency’s fee is being paid for by a two-cent levy on prepared foods, commonly called the hamburger tax.

The tax was approved late last year by the city council and is expected to bring in about $550,000 a year.

Half that amount is dedicated to the parks and recreation department.

The rest, along with a two-cent hotel-room tax, is used to cover the cost of the ad agency and various other events and entities like the military museum, the Patriotic Spectacular, Wing Ding, Little Rock Air Force Base open house and advertising the virtues of Jacksonville in various publications.

The new slogan and design, “Soaring Higher” will be used in all city advertising starting as early as September. Agency officials said that they wanted a slogan and logo that was concise, compelling and unique, something that would work for everybody.