DTH pans downtown logo

The Daily Tarheel reports that the Downtown Partnership has picked a logo and slogan, and they are not impressed.

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership made a great leap forward in bringing more shoppers to Franklin Street, as it picked a slogan and a logo.

Unfortunately, it picked a fairly lame design that should be reconsidered.

The logo is a triangle that features a lamppost similar to those found on Franklin Street; the Old Well, representing the University; and awnings to stand for all the shops and restaurants downtown.

And the slogan that shall grace this icon of Chapel Hill commerce: "Sophisticated travel destination."
- Lame-o logo - Opinion, 5/25/06

It does sound pretty weak. Does anyone know where we can see the logo?

And "sophisticated travel destination?" Is our economy based on tourism? Where the heck did that come from? Do we really want Chapel Hill to be an academic-themed tourist trap and shopping mall?



The motto and logo are both magnificiently lame.

Hey, maybe they picked a pointy triangle to symbolize the proposed deliberately uncomfortable replacement benches Dowtown.

How much did the DPC pay for this?

For gosh sakes, we're losing the Slogan Wars to

Rolesville's "Small town, bright future."
Morrisville'a "The Heart of the Triangle."
Holly Springs' "Where Tradition and Vision Meet."
Apex "The Peak of Good Living."

How about "Chapel Thrill, a city on the rise.", with a logo showing folk trudging up MLK hill?

BTW, it's the "Daily Tar Heel". I've abused the spelling probably more than any other poster but am trying to do better (with helpful nudges from Chris, Chris, Ryan, Tom, Jason, etc.)

Will, you have, with a few taps of your fingers, come up with a slogan much better than the Partnership's. Not sure about the log, though. Might need to give us a V2.0 on that.

I've always felt that anyone or anyplace that calls itself sophisticated is a little desperate to seem so. Besides, haven't they heard that life is not a destination?

We'll have tog et the full story from someone else, but I just got word that there are some significant errors in the DTH article and that "Sophisticated Travel Destination" is not at all the slogan being considered.

With all the gunfire after the last Apple Chill we're lucky it's not

"Kill Bill and Apple Chill in Chapel Hill"

Significant errors in a DTH editorial about the town? Never!

(That was sarcastic by the way. I'm very fed up with DTH editorials about stuff in Chapel Hill and Carrboro based on false assumptions and sometimes down right inaccuracies.)


1. First off, the piece in question was an editorial. Sorry to be a stickler on that (thanks for the two-word "Tar Heel," Will!), but I want to be clear that this piece emanated from our opinion writers and not our Chapel Hill reporters, who despite limited experience in their positions are doing a good job.

2. At any rate, I'm afraid the mayor is correct on the issue of the slogan. The editorial writer confused some information he'd been given on the tenor of the Partnership's discussions — they're dealing trying to paint Chapel Hill as a "sophisticated travel destination" — with the slogan proper.

I've been told by the writer, who talked to Liz Parham, that the description of the logo is accurate. The description of the slogan, however, is clearly wrong. I've already talked to the opinion editor about this, and he knows what happened is unacceptable. We are correcting the issue in print on Thursday and on the Web … well, as soon as we can contact our Web people (our site has been having problems), and the writer has already apologized to Liz for the error.

Finally, I would point out to my friend Tom that with the summer comes a new breed of editors, most of whom lack much DTH experience (that's one of the reasons why we have the summer paper — it's meant to help future leaders prepare for the school year in a slightly less stressful environment). I say that not to offer an excuse for an unacceptable mistake but to point out that ideologies change when editors change and that one editorial is not 100% indicative of the new group's thought processes. I can pretty much guarantee that the upcoming Carolina North editorial, to run Thursday, would not have come from a Chris Cameron-run opinion page.

That should just say "trying to paint," not "dealing trying to paint." Sorry about that.

Sorry Will, Rocky Mount is "the city on the rise". They tohougt of that before us. If both towns use the same slogan people will get the two fair cities confused with each other.

The DTH did incorrectly report that the Downtown Partnership adopted the slogan "Sophisticated Travel Destination". The Downtown Partnership does not have a slogan and that one was in fact, never discussed by the organization as even as option.

Although the logo was deemed by the DTH as a "failure", it was a very unfair and unfortunate editorial on the part of the DTH staff. The Downtown Partnership is very pleased with the logo and is excited about the future uses of this mark, but let's be realistic about what it is. It is a logo, an image that will be used in marketing efforts to brand downtown Chapel Hill and used by our organization as a corporate seal. The DTH classified this effort as a "failure" because they say it falls short of attracting anything. The logo by itself cannot attract new people or businesses, but when applied to a branding effort and combined with dedicated programming to improve the physical appearance and infrastructure of downtown and to strengthen the economic mix of downtown, the result will be success!


Your editorial page during the two months you ran it in the fall was heads and tails fairer and more informed on town/gown stuff than under anyone else in the last four years and I hope that continues to be reflected during your summer editorship.

Well, thanks, Tom. I appreciate it :).

Really, though, what I'm worried about aren't the opinions on the page (I'm not the opinion editor, after all, just the opinion overseer) so much as the fairness and accuracy and thoroughness of the reporting. Readers have a right to know that our opinions — whether you think we're 100% right or 100% wrong — were formed on solid premises. When that's not the case, we do a disservice. So I want to apologize again for our error, and I promise that to the best of my ability, I will ensure that the opinions on the back page are formed with fairness and accuracy in mind.

Chris, sounds like the DTH opinion editor missed on the accuracy. I look forward, when the real slogan is released, to an accurate account in both the news and opinion pages.

Until then, is Lex's slogan “Left of Center, Right at Home” the front-runner?

Liz, I'm sorry to have perpetuated the DTH's bad reporting, and glad to hear they were so wrong (although sadly, not surprised).

Is there any place we can see the logo?

The Chapel Hill Hearald published the logo in an article on May 20th.

Will: I, too, look forward to an accurate account on the slogan issue. As far as the logo, it is pretty much as described in both the Herald article and the DTH editorial. Personally, I think it's fine, even charming, but I'm also not a voting member of the editorial board (and tend not to give my opinions on topics in the news, but I think in this case I can make an exception).

The logo meets all criteria for whatever it's supposed to do. The Old Well figures most prominently. No surprise there. Lamp post and awning ... generically accurate. By certain standards, it could be an award-winner. I'm not saying I love it, but that it does represent Chapel Hill.

Clark, no one could mistake Chapel Hill for Rocky Mount, because Rocky Mount just kind of sits there.

I, too, would like to congratulate everyone who deserves congratulations, apologize to everyone who deserves an apology, and make fun of Rocky Mount and Apex.

Have a nice day!

Take this from a yankee agnostic: why would anyone want to mess with the "Southern Part of Heaven" slogan? It is unique, memorable, instituionalized and, on many days, quite accurate! It fascinates me that the partnership has all this time and money to spend on fixing something that is most certainly not broken.

But Tim, why would we use a pre-existing idea coined years ago by ordinary people when we can employ highly paid consultants to sit around a room and provide their own take?


Dear Tim and Jason,
I hold you both responsible for the coffee that has been spewed on my computer.

I agree with both Tim and Jason. The slogan Southern Part of Heaven is superb. When I used to travel to med schools and
give lectures, I would always work that slogan into the talk
with excellent results. Of course, Jason is right that we
can't simply leave well enough alone.

Let's turn to "Paris of the Piedmont". We can empower some expensive focus groups to debate that slogan. Mark, how many
dollars (oops, Euros) would the aldermen llike to spend?

During the process of trying to selecting both a logo and slogan, the Board considered 'Southern Part of Heaven'. However, one of the logos we were considering contained a generic church steeple as a one of the downtown images. We had a couple of comments that it was inappropriate to combine the slogan containing 'heaven' with a logo containing a steeple as an image.

Although I agree with Liz Parham that we should see this for what it is, a relatively small part of a larger endeavor.... it sure is fun to talk about!

I think we should also change "slogan" to "catch-phrase." That way it's more fun and likely to be used. And it should have a sit-com lifespan as well, no more than three years (with the last year being tedious). Above all, it should be nonsensical. If you make too much sense, people can debate it (should it relate to the University? include "heaven"?). Instead, why not try: "That's Chapel Hillic!" ...or "It's Chapel Hill Time!" Perhaps said in an unusual way.

If it furthers the switch to "catch-phrases," I'm willing to be called a consultant and accept money for these ideas.

"We had a couple of comments that it was inappropriate to combine the slogan containing ‘heaven' with a logo containing a steeple as an image. "

oh. my. goodness.

The PC police have won. Sanity and commonsense surrender.


Ah, "Southern Part of Heaven" --Sigh--

This is a lovely, apt, and image-provoking slogan.

Imagine, to lose such perfection and beauty over a steeple!

CH deserves to be called "Southern Part of a Really Nice Place" for the quixotic sensibilities of the board.

"Southern Part of Heaven" dates back at least to the early 70's and still serves perfectly well because the new logo doesn't feature a steeple. An early draft apparently did, but the most recent (adopted?) version has the Old Well, a lampost, and an awning. It implies that only Tar Heels go to heaven, but that goes without question.

Joe C,
-Mark C.

The DTH continues to stay on top of this topic with today's report that "County paying up big to find catchy slogan."

The current front runner is apparently the bland and meaningless "The feeling never leaves you."

I wonder how much of the $127 million in visitor spending quoted in the Dan's linked article is attributable to UNC?

The Austin slogan ("Keep Austin weird" and the Las Vegas slogan ("What happens here, stays here") are excellent because they capture the distinct appeal of each place. I still think Chapel Hill should save their money and just go with the "Southern Part of Heaven"

If Chapel Hill no longer wants to use "The Southern Part of Heaven" I want it for Carrboro

Carrboro -Paris of the Peidmont in the Southern Part of Heaven

and it wouldn't cost us a dime

Jacquie GIst

A little ironic that on one thread there is a discussion of homelessness and the cost hurdles & here we have evidence of pure lunacy with good money being spent for something we could get with a $500 prize to the best slogan.

I have a theory about downtown sloganeering that dovetails with Mark's point directly above.

If you ever see one of those long lists of "Murphy's law" related statements, one of them is something like "the chances of a buttered piece of toast falling to the ground butter-side down are directly proportional to the cost of the carpet below."

Paid work for downtown slogans works in a similar fashion. The more you spend on the slogan, the bigger the eye-rolling and wincing you get at the end from the public. When I was living in Winston-Salem, Mayor Jack Cavanagh got very excited about a new slogan. He hired consultants. Banners were printed for streetlamps. A new website was created. But then, Cavanagh really got things going. He had NC School of the Arts students commissioned to produce mini-plays and sonnets surrounding the slogan. They unveiled the slogan in a *Gala* lunchtime event at the Stevens Center for the performing arts.

We only had to stare at the banners reading:

"O! Winston-Salem: Now THAT'S Living!" (exactly that punctuation, and spelling, mind you) for 4 years. I think the city spent $70-$100k.

from the article:

"Raleigh and Durham have slogans that cost a combined $1 million, Paolicelli said. The $200,000 cost represents a little more than one-fourth of the bureau's annual budget.
City slogans
Durham - Where great things happen.
Raleigh - City life, Carolina style."

This is a joke, right? I've lived in Raleigh for 23 years and pride myself as keeping up with things civic. I've NEVER heard the supposed slogan that cost $1 million.

We're the City of Oaks. Durham is the Bull City.

UPDATE: before posting, I googled it. There were 83 references to "City life, Carolina style" as a slogan inaugurated last year as part of a marketing campaign

FURTHER UPDATE: I asked 17 people in my office, who have lived in Raleigh from 3 months to 20 years. The first question was "What is Raleigh's slogan". No one knew. Then I said "City life, Carolina style". 14 had NEVER heard of it and had no comment. One had heard it and said "Isn't that Charlotte's slogan?" One had never heard of it and said "Is that a joke?" One had never heard of it and said "That isn't even a slogan". One of the people who had never heard of it came in later and apologized, saying he was from Apex and maybe that was why he had not heard of it.

Chapel Hill, where money talks and panhandlers walk?

The DTH article is a bit misleading in that it gives the impression that the $200k is for a slogan whereas it is in fact for a marketing campaign. Because the campaign will be geared toward tourism (hence, its source, the Visitors Bureau) we might not notice it, just as Gerry does not notice Raleigh's.

Still, the slogans rankle. Does anyone else remember a running gag years ago in Mad Magazine with the punch line "what marketing genius thought of that"? I was living in Iowa when "Iowa Makes Me Smile" was changed to "Iowa: Field of Opportunity" (or was it the other way around?). Marcoplos' $500 for the best slogan could not do worse.


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