What Should the Massachusetts State Slogan Be?
The new Massachusetts tourism chief wants to change our state slogan. Rich Doucette, the new executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, told the Boston Globe that the current slogan, “It’s All Here,” is pretty generic. Fair. It’s also false. Connecticut, for instance, is not here. Neither is Canada. Many things are not here in Massachusetts, suggesting that “it” is not, in fact, “all here.”
So yes, our slogan needs work, which poses the question: what should the Massachusetts slogan be?
State slogans are a funny thing. Sure, they don’t really matter. Like state birds, state insects, state nicknames, state songs, etc., they’re not good for much except “Jeopardy!” categories. Did you ever hear the state slogan for Alaska—”Beyond Your Dreams, Within Your Reach,” which is, admittedly, pretty strong—and think “Time to book that cruise”? Probably not.
Still, because they’re usually a tourism tool, they’re a bit looser than something like a state nickname. And they are a fun exercise in branding. Perusing Wikipedia’s list of current state slogans, it appears there are a variety of approaches the states take. Our personal favorites are slogans that, intentionally or not, seem winkingly suggestive. Consider Colorado, land of legalized marijuana, whose slogan is “Enter a Higher State.” Or Kansas, “Kansas, as big as you think.” If Massachusetts took this tactic, we’d end up with something like “Massachusetts, a gay old time,” or “Massachusetts: Is that Cape Cod, or are we just happy to see you?”
Slogans can also make a political statement. New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die” might as well read “Land without sales tax.” D.C.’s “Taxation without representation” is a form of slogan-as-protest. For a Massachusetts slogan with this strategy, think something like the “Don’t Blame Us, We Voted for Kerry” bumper stickers popular during Bush’s second term.
Less exciting are the slogans that make an entire state sound like a folksie roadside restaurant. Think: Indiana, “Honest to Goodness Indiana” or Idaho, “Great Potatoes. Tasty Destinations.” We don’t recommend it, but Massachusetts could go with something like “Massachusetts. Seafood Served Here.”
Whatever we come up with, we might find that it’s less about the slogan and more about how we use it. “I Love New York” is pretty simple, but thanks to the T-shirts, it’s also hard to escape, making it one of the most successful state slogans. Indeed, as we consider a change, we’ll have to contend with the fact that New York’s is the one to beat.