Saddle up, pardner. It's branding time at the ol' Oneonta corral!
On Aug. 5, a new branding logo will be revealed to all at a special ceremony at the Oneonta Theatre. Branding is the idea that a community should have a slogan, logo or saying that is concise, sharp and so focused so that the image of the community comes immediately to mind.
You know, like "Ithaca Is Gorges!" Yes, Ithaca is gorgeous, and its gorges are part of the city's lure. A nice play on words, that one is. Or Lake Placid's "Home in the High Peaks." Sweet.
Of course, some have unintended meanings or ancient references. Troy long ago shed the moniker "The Collar City" for the much more Chamber of Commerce-friendly, "Home of Uncle Sam." And the best Niagara Falls could do, with all the glory it had to work with, was "The Cataract City." Why it chose to use the old, obscure waterfall reference instead of something evoking more grandeur is beyond me. I mean, I see "The Cataract City" on a sign and it tells me I am in a city where everyone has bad eyesight!
So I can't wait to see what The Glen Group, the New Hampshire pros hired to brand us, comes up with for Oneonta. I just hope they remember that the shorter, the better.
Advertising Age Magazine tells us that the most memorable slogans of all time have been ones just three little words long. They are "Just Do It," "We Try Harder," "Breakfast of Champions," "Diamonds Are Forever," and the immortal "Where's the Beef?" You all know these companies, don't you?
Three words. Powerful. Heck, even Nancy Reagan's much-maligned three-word anti-drug message, "Just Say No," is now getting a much-appreciated second look.
Now, back to our brand.
A concise saying to describe our area, huh? It'll be quite a task if they choose to go the "three-word route." I mean our area has an embarrassment of riches. I know that by the time Friday comes around on my radio program I have given out pages and pages of info about the upcoming weekend's events.
A week ago I went out to dinner with some family members and we were talking about how much there really is to do in our area. My mother-in-law said in passing, "Whenever anybody asks me what is there do to in our area, I reply, just look around!"
"Just look around." Short, simple and three words. I could see the bumper stickers already, "Oneonta ... just look around!" "Otsego County ... just look around."
It speaks volumes about our region. Sure, family events, concerts, fundraisers, gallery showings, performances, etc., don't always reach up and smack you in your face. But if you, well, just look around, there they are as big as life!
Oneonta and its environs positively demand that you get out and enjoy. Over the last couple of weeks I have talked about and attended art shows (such as the fabulous Stagecoach Run in Treadwell), live performances (Delaware County's own "Good Humor" man, Jim Mullen at the Franklin Stage Company), a cornucopia of bountiful farmers' markets (Cooperstown and Oneonta), the fantastic First Friday extravaganzas in Oneonta all season long, old car shows, "Warplanes Over the Polo Grounds" in Gilbertsville (twice!), junior livestock shows in Cooperstown, Oneonta's own version of American Idol, which brings SRO crowds to the Foothills Performing Arts Center (this CNY Radio event is the largest talent show in Central New York and the young entertainers are first-rate), live baseball action at Damaschke Field (Outlaws) or Doubleday Field (Hawkeyes) and much more.
And it's not even fair season yet!
The folks from New Hampshire will have their work cut out for them. Otsego County used to be the "Leatherstocking Region," which I loved, but let's face it, the romance of "Leatherstocking Region" starts to draw blanks once you hit, say, Whitney Point. "What's a leatherstocking?"
And I never liked "City of the Hills." Never. It always kind of sounded like a "clip art slogan." "You got hills? Good, you're now the City of the Hills." Next. Yawn.
So I wish our branders well in summing up the whole of our parts. It'll be hard to imagine a logo without the ubiquitous soccer ball in it, now just a misty memory of the shuttered Hall of Fame.
I hope the soccer ball is not replaced with a baseball, again weakly trying to tie our apron strings to our neighbor up Route 28.
What about the "little red caboose" where history really was made? Will that make the final pick? Brook's House of Bar-B-Q? The colleges? "Birthplace of IBM?" The Susquehanna?
Yes, pardner, I can't wait!
Oh, and by the way. So you are not scratching your heads the rest of the day, the companies alluded to in the beginning of this column are Nike, Avis, Wheaties, DeBeers and Wendy's.
'Big Chuck' D'Imperio can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his "Oldies Jukebox Show." You can find "Big Chuck" on Facebook under Upstate New York Books. He invites you to contact him at email@example.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/bigchuck. You can find "Big Chuck" on Facebook under Upstate New York Books.
Saddle up, pardner. It's branding time at the ol' Oneonta corral!
- Big Chuck
Safety Patrol D.C. visits never get old
I asked Cam Morris, head of Eastern Travel/Oneonta Bus Lines, how many years her company has been handling the Safety Patrol trip to Washington, D.C.
My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
Ask any hospital administrators if they've ever heard of a closed hospital in New York state that has ever been re-opened. They will say, "Impossible." In a half century of going through records you can't find any.
Catching a whiff of 'Vermont Vapor'
We just came back from a weekend in Manchester, Vt., and my wife insists that something "magical" happens when you pass the state sign. "I think they spray 'Vermont Vapor' out of the sign or something," she opined, "something that actually changes us."
Selections from the virtual mailbag
Well, it's time to open up the email bag, and it's really full!
Recalling days of 'Doughnut King'
In 1969, I was "The Doughnut King" in Sidney.
- Monday, March 11, 2013
Opera great's visit still a thrilling memory
Opera singer Marian Anderson (1897-1993) has been called the "most distinctive American voice of the 20th century."
- Monday, February 25, 2013
Film clip a window into Oneonta's past
One of my radio listeners sent me an astonishing piece of video recently. I posted it on my Facebook page (go to Facebook, search "BIG CHUCK") and it has been viewed by well over 1,000 people in just a week.
- Monday, February 11, 2013
Many made stop at upstate naval base
My father was in the U.S. Navy. Not for long, but he did enlist out of high school in 1944. He did his naval training at Sampson Naval Training Base in Romulus. Shortly after Dad's basic training, he was honorably discharged because of a health issue. So, although his service was brief, I needed to find out as much about it as I possibly could.
- Monday, January 28, 2013
Local foods worthy of national spotlight
Well, President Obamaâ€™s second inauguration is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction.
- Monday, January 14, 2013
Remembering lives of the not-so-famous
I write about 25 columns a year for this paper. And I must admit, this annual one is always my favorite. A lot of famous people left this world last year, including General Norman Schwarzkopf, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, singer Andy Williams and TV's George Jefferson actor -- Sherman Hemsley.
- Monday, December 31, 2012
Canines create unforgettable moments
Last year, I used my holiday column to pay tribute to my dog, Stella. The darn dog actually received fan mail after that, and has insisted that I do a shout-out to her canine colleagues each year around this time. So, to keep Stella happy, here goes.
- Monday, December 17, 2012
Nothing like an old-fashioned movie theater
What is it about a movie theater?
- Monday, December 3, 2012
Chuck's daughter returns to a town full of memories
My daughter Frances, OHS Class of 2000, came home for Thanksgiving last week after not having been in her hometown for nearly five years. I asked her to be my "guest columnist" to share her thoughts about coming home for the holidays. I hope you enjoy her story.
- Monday, November 19, 2012
Time to move on after grueling campaign season
Nobody likes a presidential election campaign better than I do. But this one darn near took a piece out of me.
- Monday, November 5, 2012
One nasty hurricane more than enough for one lifetime
Hey, Sandy! Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
- Monday, October 22, 2012
Latter-day stunt men still knew how to thrill
What is it with all these crazy stuntmen all of a sudden?
- Monday, October 8, 2012
Andy Williams, last of the great crooners
When singer Andy Williams died a week ago, it truly was an end of an era.
- Monday, September 24, 2012
Senator's farm was all I imagined
Many years ago, when I first arrived in Oneonta, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was the senior senator from New York state. His top aide, Ross Frommer, used to come into the radio station for interviews and to tell my audience about the various legislative efforts involving "their senator."
- Monday, September 10, 2012
Family's history includes ancestor who knew Lincoln
- Monday, August 27, 2012
Making up for lost time on Facebook
If there ever was a true-blue phenomenon, it is Facebook.
- Safety Patrol D.C. visits never get old