Winston-Salem officials ask for suggestions on city slogan

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A city without a slogan is, well, a “City Without a Slogan.”

Winston-Salem officials are getting ready to solve that problem by asking residents to come up with a city slogan to appear on road signs and – who knows, maybe badges, posters, stickers and T-shirts, if the slogan catches on.

Maybe “City in a Hurry” would be a good place to start, since submissions have to be in between March 31 and April 4. That’s next week.

Folks can enter their nominations online or by phoning the city. And the submissions can be creative or be some slogan already in use.

In recent years the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County has promoted Winston-Salem as “The City of Arts and Innovation,” a slogan also claimed by Riverside, Calif.

“I expect we will see a lot of people suggesting that to be the slogan, but the council members wanted to say, let’s take a moment and bring it forward to the community,” said Ed McNeal, Winston-Salem’s director of marketing and communication. “I believe we are ultimately going to see a lot of comments from people with supporting information. I believe it will be something that bubbles to the top.”

McNeal said a team would be put together to sift through the nominations.

Hint: Don’t try “O! Winston-Salem Now That’s Living!”

The city famously (infamously?) spent six months and $65,000 to come up with that slogan in 2001. The slogan had its supporters but it also earned derision, and faded into obscurity. The idea behind the slogan as that when people found out what neat things there are in Winston-Salem they would exclaim, “Oh! I didn’t know that.”

Instead, too many people said, “Huh?”

That slogan had beat out “Winston-Salem: Your City for Life,” which sounded too much like a prison sentence to some people.

Winston-Salem has tried out many slogans over the years: “The city of progress and prosperity” in 1920, and “North Carolina’s Largest City” in 1922. That one’s no longer applicable.

By 1925 someone had decided that Winston-Salem was “A good place to live.” After a stint as “The World’s Tobacco Metropolis” (1932), the city decided it was “The City of Historic Charm and Thriving Industry.” Sensing the need to shake things up, someone in 1958 changed it to “The City of Culture, History and Industry.”

“Whatever you say you are, you need to deliver,” said Richard Geiger, the president of Visit Winston-Salem. That agency uses the slogan “Your Southern Wake-Up Call,” but Geiger pointed out that the emphasis is on selling the city to outsiders, not folks who live here.

“People still view Winston-Salem as a tobacco city,” Geiger said. “We are trying to get people thinking about Winston-Salem differently. We have a lot of history with Old Salem, but we also have wine, arts and great restaurants.”

The city’s seal has the slogan Urbs Condita Adiuvando, which means “City founded on cooperation.”

The city also has picked up some nicknames: Camel City, a cigarette reference that has long been popular with truckers, and the Twin City, a reference to Winston and Salem.

Gayle Anderson, the president and chief executive of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, pointed to the Twin City nickname, although she noted that Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota are called the Twin Cities.

“I am really interested to see what people come up with,” Anderson said.


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