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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Be sincere in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is being accused of "borrowing" it's new slogan:

Wisconsin's new state slogan is already inspiring something, but it's not exactly unanimous praise.

Gov. Jim Doyle said Monday the state will use "Live like you mean it" to promote Wisconsin as a tourism and business destination, replacing the slogan "Life's So Good."

But motivational speakers, authors and even wine and spirit maker Bacardi have already used the phrase in marketing campaigns. Some critics who aren't thrilled the state is adopting their slogan may oppose its attempt to get federal trademark protections on it or even take legal action.

"They are not going to get a federal trademark. I just wanted to let them know that," said Ellyn Luros-Elson, a Napa, Calif., dietitian who is co-author of a 2006 book by that name. "It doesn't make sense the state is going to use something they know has already been put out there."

Oh, well. It could have been worse.  Apparently the runners-up were "Wisconsin -- the real thing," "You deserve a break in Wisconsin," "With a name like Wisconsin, it has to be good," "I'd walk a mile to Wisconsin" and "Where's the fish?"

If I lived there, I'd object to the change, too, but for a different reason. "Life's So Good" is what we in the word business call a "truism," one of those obvious, self-evident sayings that hardly anyone can object to. I mean, once in a while a few people might be in a surly mood and feel that "Life's So Bad," but most people don't want to come right out and say stuff like that.

"Live like you mean it," on the other hand, sounds a lot like an order. I put up with taking orders from my parents, and my boss pays me to take his orders, and there are some orders (commonly referred to as "laws") that carry severe penalties for noncompliance. The last thing I need in my life is another order, so I would not be inclined to accept one from my damn state slogan. What if I feel like being insincere occasionally and living like I don't mean it?

Indiana, by the way, has both a "motto" and a "slogan," although a slogan these days is generally called a "brand." The motto, adopted by the General Assembly in 1937, is "Crossroads of America," which makes the state sound a little busier and crowded than it actually is. The slogan or "brand" that was adopted a few years ago, if you recall the controversy, is "Restart your engines," which sounds a lot like "Come to Indiana and watch your life stall."

But before that, our slogan was "Enjoy Indiana." Another damn order. Enjoy it yourself, I'm busy living like I mean it, and then I have to restart my engine.


Bob G.
Tue, 03/17/2009 - 11:13am

"Come to Indiana and watch your life stall.

Michael B-P
Tue, 03/17/2009 - 12:22pm

Maybe the people coming up with this stuff are the passive-agressive types who subconsciously REALLY like telling others what to do ("Live Free or DIE!"), and need to be invited out for a few Margaritas so they can come back to rephrase that:" "Oh, Eat More Cheese . . . If You Feel Like It."

Tue, 03/17/2009 - 10:46pm

Well . . . Michael almost got it right. Fake WI license plates read "EAT CHS R DIE." The Wisconsin Marching Band used to play "When you say Wissss . . consin, you've said it all." And my personal favorite, "Wisconsin - for a slice of the good life."

I guess we will have to live with "Indiana wants me."

Bob G.
Wed, 03/18/2009 - 8:01am

And a damn fine song THAT was...lol!