It’s been hard to keep from talking about the obsession (a healthy one at the moment, fine with me) that Reno has with its image at the moment.
The community seems to have overreacted incredibly negatively to the idea of the tourism slogan being “A Little West of Center” as brought forth by the agency that did a lot of good brand research for the RSCVA lately. This has been praised elsewhere and includes a new logo, which is a good logo and the concept “Reno-Tahoe USA” is a great concept as a starting point.
In fact, with just the logo and Reno-Tahoe USA, the RSCVA is positioned well to craft a range of regional marketing taglines targeted at specific visitor demographics that highlight the diverse mix of destinations and venues Western Nevada has to offer.
However, the outrage, which seems overdone on the part of many people, over (the rejected) “A Little West of Center” slogan is really unbelievable. People’s reaction: overwhelmingly “What is that supposed to mean?” is always played to paint the advocate into a corner. Mayor Bob Cashell’s quip “What do they mean, Virginia Street?” was actually funny but still I think the aversion to it comes from people naturally, in their mind, associating the phrase with its source “A little left of center”, which many leaders in and around the Reno area may be repulsed to believe anyone would think of their area.
Reno wears its relative conservatism on its sleeve a lot, which isn’t really a bad thing except when it provokes knee-jerk reactions like this.
Facts are, it’s a pretty socially liberal place, with plenty to do for drinkers, gamblers, gay people, artists, and really anyone who wishes to live in an unconventional manner. But the conservative “out west” attitude that prevails in the enjoyment of going out in the mountains and shooting at cans, or wanting to keep base costs of government services low, pervades and infuses a natural skepticism of pretty much all of the advancements and trappings of modernity even as it seeks to take advantage of those advancements.
Hey, it’s what I think of when I think “A Little West of Center” Frankly, it would have done Reno ok.
“Nope, we’re just assholes apparently. Countless people I’ve encountered that either move here or visit mention this, the tenseness, the bravado, the needing to prove… something… in this town. I mean, look at this website.”
One day I was walking across Liberty Street on Sierra headed down to California Avenue from downtown proper, and some guy in a pickup truck honked at me because I wasn’t walking fast enough! In the crosswalk! While the walk sign was lit. I like to imagine him imagining himself being associated by power of suggestion with a bunch of tree huggin’ hippies thanks to this slogan created by some San Francisco elites who misjudged his town by way of said slogan.
It did set people off, so just as well that it’s gone. What comes next is anybody’s guess. But at the end of the day, I’m not going to be the only one scratching my head on occasion when I witness things like this, and saying to myself , “What in blazes?” Perhaps one day Reno will collectively take a good deep breath and relax for a second. Until then we observers will have plenty to marvel at.