Welcome to Fruita. Have a nice &@! stay, you #*!

Stay classy, Fruita.

That was my reaction upon hearing the city’s two potential tourism slogans, both of which they came up with after consulting with their marketing director, Snookie from “Jersey Shore.”

The first slogan is a play on the vulgar acronym “WTF?” in which the “F” part stands for a very bad word you hear on construction sites after someone accidentally nail guns an index finger to a roofing shingle.

Fruita’s city manager acknowledges the backlash this has created in town. He told the Sentinel, “Who we market to for tourism might not be who is in our community.” This is a nice way of saying they want to market to hip, 20-something Denver professionals with money, rather than a typical Fruita resident — a 74-year-old retired hay farmer — who typically does NOT saunter downtown to purchase, say, a $2,600 mountain bike, or a chai tea latte — the latter of which he thinks is a martial-arts move in a Chuck Norris flick.

Defending the tagline, a Fruita Chamber of Commerce member said, “It’s not nasty, it’s funny.” Maybe. But if you have to tell people your slogan is not nasty, you need a better slogan.

Which is why I was glad to read that Fruita used part of its $65,000 tourism budget to pay an advertising agency to create a new campaign. Being sophisticated marketing professionals they, of course, did not use the F-word in their ads; they used an entirely different cuss word instead.

This campaign has the phrase “Hell yeah!” on a photo above a mountain bike, which is parked in front of the requisite SUV, near which sits the requisite dog, and coolers, camping gear, and every other item you stereotypically associate with mountain bikers, the exception being an 8-ounce bag of marijuana and a tie-dyed bong, both of which Fruita obviously couldn’t use seeing as how those images have already been copyrighted by Palisade.

I’m sorry, but “Hell yeah!” is not a slogan. It’s what you say when you find out someone is going to pay you thousands of dollars to come up with a slogan.

Yet some actually like the dual profanities. Two Fruita city councilmen say the campaigns are “edgy” and “gets people’s attention.” That’s true. So I’m going to create my own ad. It will show Charles Manson holding a butcher knife, inviting mountain bikers to visit Fruita for some “killer trails.” Not to brag, but this would result in a LOT more than $2 million in free publicity. Naturally, the city will say my idea stinks, so I’ll point out to them that it’s “edgy” and “gets people’s attention.”

Then I’ll hand them a bill for $65,000. Hell yeah!

One of the advertising people told the Sentinel that Fruita needs these sort of taglines, otherwise, “We run the risk of another community out-funking us.” If you can imagine. Personally, I often can’t sleep at night, worried that another community, (say Delta), is “outfunking” us.

All of this talk about “funkiness” and being “edgy” is unfortunate. Fruita has nice trails, and even nicer people. But right now they’re coming across like that pathetic kid you knew back in high school who tried so desperately hard to be cool that he came across as a big toolbox.

I should know. I was that toolbox.

Which is why I think Fruita should go in the opposite direction. Let The Moabs, Aspens and Durangos of the world “outfunk” us, while we embrace our unhipness. A good tagline would be: “Fruita: We’re NOT cool. Come here and be yourself.  (Bring your money, too).”

But what do I know? Maybe these ads will take their place amongst the most classic tourism slogans of all time. Hershey, Pa., has “The sweetest place on Earth.” The Bay area has “I left my heart in San Francisco.” Fruita has “Hell yeah!”

WTF indeed.

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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