Thursday, February 16, 2006

Philly's got an awful marketing director

This weekend I will return to the motherland to visit my parents, my grandmother, a friend, and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Currently, the museum is featuring a special exhibit on Benjamin Frankin to honor his 300th birthday. To help promote it, some genius created the following slogan:

Philly's Got Benergy.

I kid you not.

I first saw this colossal embarrassment while traveling on Boston's T. Surely, my fellow commuters noticed the look of shame on my face and immediately deduced that I come from the Philly area. I thank them for not publicly ridiculing me.

Recenlty, I realized this is the latest example of Philadelphia's inferiority to Boston, which would never conjure up something so patently lame. Boston's superiority may date back to our country's early days. Consider the comments of John Adams:

Philadelphia with all its Trade, and Wealth, and Regularity is not
Boston. The Morals of our People are much better, their Manners are more polite, and agreeable -- they are purer English. Our Language is better, our Persons are handsomer, our Spirit is greater, our Laws are wiser, our Religion is superiour, our Education is better. (Italics mine)
Not only is the slogan eye-rolling, it's also grammatically horrid. Philly's Got...?!?! That's the sort of language that first graders are taught to not use. It should be "Philly Has Benergy."

It's as bad as the slogan that appeared on Pennsylvania license plates in the 1980s: "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania."


At 8:55 PM, Blogger Pete said...

Yes, that is dreadful. It is far too close to the Bennifer nonsense that greets Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

But I don't agree with your ripping of the "You've Got A Friend in Pennsylvania" slogan. What's wrong with that?

It's no "Live Free Or Die" like Vermont, but it's as good as New Jersey and You: Perfect Together.

At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Eoin O'Carroll said...

New Hampshire is Live Free or Die; Vermont is the Green Mountain State, which is also pretty good.

The problem I have with "You've got a friend in Pennsylvania" is that it's a declarative sentence, and therefore a falsifiable statement. As it happens, I DON'T have any friends in Pennsylvania. As far as I'm concerned, the plate is just another government lie.

Good license plates slogans are imperative sentences (e.g. "Don't Mess With Texas," "Live Free or Die," or Maryland's uninspired yet unassailable, "Drive Carefully), or just sentence fragments ("Opportunity Land," "Vacationland"). Such slogans are not the types of things that can be proven false, although you can still defy them, if you wish. Personally, I've refuse to seek any opportunities in Arkansas, and I love messing with Texas every chance I get.

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Pete said...

I do have some friends in Pennsylvania, so my following argument is purely hypothetical:

Even in your case, eoin, I think what's implied by the "You've Got A Friend in Pennsylvania" is that even if you don't know someone there, if you visit, you will be greeted warmly.

I think it ties in the state history of the friendly Amish and Quakers.

The sense I get is if I'm driving through the Keystone State and get a flat tire, Ben Fucking Franklin is going to jump right off that Quaker Oats canister and help me fix it in a jolly fashion.


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