As Creative Director at Robot House Creative, Brian Winkeler, has been getting a lot of notice lately for it’s branding and marketing campaigns, including the Housewives of the 405 comic series promoting the Body Trends salon. Mayor Mick Cornett is asking the Oklahoma City Council to take his word as a self described branding expert that “Oklahoma City Boulevard” is the best name for the yet to be designed or built downtown boulevard and that no further examination of study of the matter is needed. Cornett wants the council to approve this street name tomorrow.
Winkeler disagrees with the mayor’s take on branding. Here’s what our Robot House friend has to say:
(UPDATE: The name was passed Tuesday by the Oklahoma City Council, 8-1) Do you ever get tired of hearing fabulous tales of the star-studded goings-on that take place on the west coast on world-renowned Los Angeles Blvd? Or the five-star dining and über-exclusive retail experiences to be had up north on New York Boulevard?
Of course not. Because streets with those names don’t exist in those cities. New York and Los Angeles and Chicago and (fill in your favorite major market city here) have major thoroughfares of culture and commerce with names that are unique, distinctive and memorable. Sunset Boulevard. Lake Shore Drive. Broadway (luckily, we’ve already got one of those).
Mayor Mick Cornett is inexplicably desperate for the boulevard at the epicenter of Oklahoma City’s Core to Shore development to be named…Oklahoma City Boulevard.
Oklahoma City Boulevard.
In the words of Seth Meyers, “Really?”
I like Mick. I can’t say I keep abreast of enough to know whether or not I should like him, but he did a great job with promoting that weight loss website a while back and seems to be doing a pretty good job continuing the momentum that Ron Norick built up during his tenure.
But despite being named the Oklahoma City Ad Club’s “Advertising Man of the Year” in 2010, Mayor Mick Cornett is not a creative professional. And from my perspective as an actual creative professional, I would be enraged at the idea of naming such an important piece of real estate so insipidly if I could only keep from falling asleep halfway through hearing it. I have no business trying to either be a mayor or read sports scores off of a teleprompter and Mick Cornett has no business trying to be a branding expert.
The job of the creative professional is to come up with a whole bunch of crappy ideas knowing that there will be at least one nugget of gold uncovered through the process. Get a group of top Creative Directors in town together to brainstorm names for this game-changing artery into the beating heart of 21st century Oklahoma City and “Oklahoma City Boulevard” wouldn’t even make it onto the board as a joke. It’s that trite. It’s that uninspired. It’s “Oklahoma is OK” reborn on a street sign.
Do you know where you’ll find major streets named after cities? In other cities. Miami Boulevard can be found in Dayton, OH. Our frienemies up in Tulsa have Boston Avenue. We’ve even got Portland Avenue here in town (though it’s thankfully free of suicidal, caffeinated hipster douchebags).
We’re better than “Oklahoma City Boulevard.” We’re cooler than “Oklahoma City Boulevard.” We are in the midst of a creative and cultural renaissance most of us would’ve never thought possible 20 years ago. Amazing things are happening here and, if Core to Shore does come together as promised and envisioned, it will be another amazing thing we can show off to the world.
What should it be named? I don’t know…yet. But speaking as someone who’s developed strategic branding campaigns for almost 20 years, I believe it should be named something unique. Something unexpected. Something that reflects the cool, creative, innovative culture we’re growing right now in our beloved city.
Oklahoma City deserves better than “Oklahoma City Boulevard.”
News hole: space available for a story.
Journalism fact No. 1: the news hole is never big enough.
That in mind, I’m pointing you to a story I really hope you read in the Sunday paper about Core to Shore and the park being promoted by Mayor Mick Cornett. Read it here.
Then read these items that got left on the cutting floor:
- Mayor Mick Cornett and City Manager Jim Couch say they are concerned about the planned width of the boulevard, but they were not aware that the city will need to appeal the design with the Federal Highway Administration since it was a part of the environmental report done as part of required mitigation more than a decade ago.
- Cornett is pressing ahead with a vote at the Oklahoma City Council meeting on Tuesday to name the boulevard “Oklahoma City Boulevard.” The boulevard hasn’t been designed yet, there has been no public discussion or any independent branding or marketing experts brought in to help on naming what he has declared to be the future gateway into downtown. Ward 1 Councilman Gary Marrs noted this past week he doubts the boulevard will be completed by 2014, and even questions whether it will truly be funded in light of road construction funding cuts that hit the Oklahoma Department of Transportation this past legislative session
Go to http://www.40forward.com/ to see the latest video of the I-40 relocation. The Core to Shore area is shown as the helicopter hovers over Robinson Avenue.
I hope all of you are OK. Being quite the coward, I spent about an hour or so huddled with my family remembering what’s most important in this life. Do yourself a favor … turn off the news and block out today’s nastiness for just a bit … and let Elvis Costello soothe your shattered nerves. For a geek like me, it doesn’t get any better than Peace, Love & Understanding (with Japanese? subtitles!)
Today we hear from Steven Drozd, who suggests his band’s song “Race for the Prize” be the Thunder’s official song for this play-off season. Good idea… maybe the Lips could introduce it during one of the upcoming games?
For the past several weeks there has been a rather intense effort to get Ellen DeGeneres to come to Oklahoma City and be “a Thunder girl.” Last week we saw a flash mob request that followed a rather successful creation of a Facebook fan page. Enter into the game the messager-in-chief of OKC, Mayor Mick Cornett:
Did it work? The heir apparent to the title of Queen of Daytime Talk (good knowing ya Oprah) is impressed:
Yeah, I know this video is probably being posted on a slew of sites, kinda cliche right now. But I like the song, and this is my blog, and I wasn’t in the mood for Weird Al tonight. So that’s that.
I meant to post this earlier this week – if you’re looking for some fun tonight, especially if you’re a fan of Greg Burns (as I am) and want to support a great cause, you might want to check this out:
GREG BURNS ART SHOW
with Wine Tasting
Tonight – 6 p.m. -8 p.m.
Greens Country Club
13100 Green Valley Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73120
This show will benefit
A New Leash on Life
an organization which has training programs for
Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and a Pen Pals Prison Program for rescued dogs
A $30. entry fee includes wine tasting with orderves and a donation to
A New Leash on Life
William Hider is doing some great work at OKC Talk and elsewhere online keeping up with what’s going on downtown. The above video focuses on Main Street of today, which leads us to some great photos Williams discovered at the Oklahoma Historical Society:
Look familiar? Here’s a more recent view of Main Street…
Now let’s go back and get a closer look of Main Street from a half century ago:
We know this building is part of a collection of properties on this block purchased by Nicholas Preftakes, who is being very quiet about his intentions. We also know that the block is across the street from Devon Energy Center. And we know that Devon’s new wellness center has an incredible view of Main Street.
Reach your own conclusions as to what all this might mean.
Now let’s take one step forward. Let’s pretend, just for a moment, that a major company that has shown it wants to promote downtown and move it forward, might have an interest in these buildings. Let’s also pretend, for a moment, that an institution like the City Arts Center might be interested in moving downtown.
Imagine the old Baron’s department store restored, with the help of tax credits, to become the new home of the City Arts Center. Imagine the storefronts recreated to showcase various art work by students.
The tile facade on the old Baron’s building is, upon close inspection, fairly stunning and very unique. The terrazzo flooring is still intact…
Imagine Main Street … brought back to life.
Yesterday I wrote about how some Bricktown restaurants and bars seemed to be playing into the stereotype of Oklahoma City as a town that shuts down at 10 p.m. The following is a response from the owner of Texadelphia:
My name is Manny Leclercq and I am one of the owners of the Texadelphia in Bricktown. I want to first apologize to Steve and the customers who had this experience in our restaurant. It is our policy to keep our doors open to customers past the normal closing time when there are special events that might dictate that, and this should have been one of those events. We are fervent supporters of the Oklahoma City Thunder and have been as excited about the current state of our team and our playoff run, as most of you all are. We are even a proud advertising partner with the OKC Thunder through the Bricktown Association. In the past, we have hosted official Budweiser Thunderstruck Event watch parties, which we promoted through social media, and although this Tuesday’s game was not promoted as one of these events, we should have remained open.
Unfortunately, a critically poor decision was made by someone on our management team in closing down before the end of the game, and we have already address the situation with our team.
As some of you might already know, on many of the evening Thunder home games, we are open 2-3 hours past our normal closing time (as late as 1am at times). With many of the away games, especially during the playoffs, we have remained open past our official closing time when there are customers still enjoying the event. We want to promote the Downtown/Bricktown area as the fun, family-friendly social destination that it is. Texadelphia is uniquely fortunate to have world class sporting events in it’s backyard, and we try to celebrate that with the other Oklahomans who enjoy it as much as we do. Please understand that the poor decision by one of our staff members does not reflect on our true sense of civic pride, and our genuine excitement to actively support our home team and the wants/needs of our customers. We are local owners with strong ties to this city, and we are excited to be doing business here.
I can assure you that this sort of occurrence will never happen again, and we hope you will allow us to prove it at some time in the near future. Our goal is to provide our customers with great food, drinks and customer service, in a fun, social setting, and we fell short in this instance. We are looking forward to watching the Thunder play again this Thursday (and we will be staying open for the duration of the game!)
Texadelphia Social Grill