PORTLAND — Yes. Life’s good here.
That’s what city officials hope business people, residents and visitors alike have to say about their city, and say it often.
Mayor Michael Brennan and Creative Portland Corp. Executive Director Jennifer Hutchins led a highly anticipated news conference Tuesday morning to unveil a new city slogan, which they described as a Swiss Army knife of phrases that could be tweaked for any business, industry or marketing professional.
Among the examples displayed during the Tuesday event:
“Portland. Yes. Art’s Good Here.”
“Portland. Yes. Biking’s Good Here.”
“Portland. Yes. Lobster’s Good Here.”
And so on.
By the end of the news conference, city vehicles bearing variations of the slogan – such as a Portland Water District truck emblazoned with “Yes. Water’s Good Here” – were parked conspicuously outside City Hall.
Across the city at Portland International Jetport, the new catch phrase was scrolling across a marquis near the baggage claim, according to handouts distributed to reporters at the event.
The slogan, which will serve as a foundation for what Hutchins said would be “a complete brand system,” was developed over months of collaboration between local stakeholders from groups such as Creative Portland Corp., Portland’s Downtown District, the Portland Community Chamber, and the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“‘The Way Life Should Be’ started as an ad campaign years ago and has lasted,” said David Puelle, a design firm owner who lent his expertise to developing the city’s slogan. “One of my favorites is ‘What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas’ – which was started as a one-season campaign, but hit the mark so well it really caught on.”
That’s the sort of ingrained association Portland leaders hope will take hold with “Yes. Life’s Good Here.”
“The more who use it, the better,” Hutchins said. “We’re giving it away.”
Puelle said the slogan is more than just an impersonal marketing gimmick. He said the phrase is derived from an essay by the late author John Preston, who settled in Portland in 1979 and in one seminal essay answered colleagues who’d been asking if he planned to ultimately move back to New York City.
After expressing his affection for his adopted home, Preston concluded his essay with the answer: “No. Life’s good here.”
Preston is described as “a pioneer in the early gay rights movement” in a short biography distributed Tuesday, which called his writing and advocacy for gay rights as being key to rallying support behind the city’s 1992 Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Ordinance. The award-winning author died two years later.
“We needed to find something that captured the spirit of Portland and could meet the needs of three important, yet distinct, groups: Residents, businesses and visitors,” Hutchins said in a statement. “Lucky for us, we were able to find inspiration from one of our own, John Preston.”
A city announcement Monday described the branding effort as being of little cost to the city, conducted on a volunteer basis by local stakeholders and marketing experts.
David Puelle of David Puelle Design talks with the press about Portland’s new marketing campaign Tuesday at City Hall. Puelle had a hand in formulating the new campaign.