If you’ve been lurking around Seattle since the Early Cretaceous as some of us have, you may remember some of the incarnations of the city’s visitor-promotion agency and how it has packaged our fair city.
Back in 1982, the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitors Bureau officially dubbed us the Emerald City, after a public contest to come up with a new moniker. (The previous “Queen City” seemed more appropriate to London — or perhaps the more colorful neighborhoods of San Francisco.)
In the late ’90s, another promotional campaign involved a rebus representation of “See-@-L,” including a drawing of an eyeball for the “See” sound and the @ symbol suggestive of the Internet (appropriate for our Microsoftie metropolis).
Then in 2006 we became the Metronatural city — a misguided slogan developed at a cost of $200,000 that seemed like a spinoff of the teeth-curling “metrosexual” label that helped lose the 2004 presidential election for now-Secretary of State John Kerry.
Our Metronatural era went hand-in-Gucci-glove with the much-hated, ill-fated Washington state tourism slogan “Say WA.” (Remember that?) Like “Say WA” — which evoked images of an unpleasant dental procedure — “Metronatural” never really caught fire. Backers hoped it would paint a picture of a city where hip young tech-startup founders hop out of their sea kayaks and catch a streetcar to the symphony. Detractors said it made us sound like one big urban nudist camp.
In the meantime, the city’s promotional agency was calling itself a more-streamlined “Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau” (dropping the King County reference).
Now, even more streamlining: Both the bureau’s name and its slogan have been boiled down to “Visit Seattle.” (Its URL, too: visitseattle.org.) Their new logo slopes the tops of the t’s and the “L” in Seattle to evoke the Space Needle and a mountain slope. Kinda.
I’ll say one thing. It’s concise.
And after “Metronatural” and “Say WA,” maybe simple is smart.