Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.
You have to love marketers. They're so blinded by their desires that they can't see what's right in front of their faces. Last week, some hucksters convinced the Reno City Council, the most intelligent council this city has ever produced, to “rebrand” the city using a big chunk of one of the most recognizable logos in the community: Ours.
Quite by accident, I was in the council chambers when the discussion of this purchase went down. They showed that 1960s Reno Arch that had the letter R on a golden octagon, so they lifted a letter from a sign that's been recognizable around the world for more than a half-century. How creative.
Promoters then showed in a public council meeting how they distinguished the R by shortening the terminal, turning it into “a smile” and making the letter look like a capital P with a semi-flaccid penis.
My heart leaped. That was probably a Silverfake or Hellenic typeface on an octagonal field. In short, it was barely distinguishable from the R we've been using in our logo for 15 years. Even the shape was generic, MG Motors, ADT and even JP Morgan Chase have octagonal logos.
Yes, the city is rebranding. The council wants a younger, hipper, more sophisticated image. In fact, they want people to think the city of Reno is just like the people who read the RN&R, so it makes perfect sense the “innovators” would crib our style.
The council even bought the line that nobody had capitalized on the Biggest Little City phrase for many years, despite the fact our annual readers poll, the Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada, is one of the nation's largest readers polls.
The council voted to spend up to $284,000 to remake the city's brand in our image.
Personally, I think there may be a problem with that strategy. I think I can use our letter R and with a tiny bit of effort make the viewing public think of the Reno News & Review every time they see the city's new logo. I guess my big worry is that those marketers will hurt our brand by not successfully “rebranding” Reno by improving it for the people who live here.