What's gotten into the city of Clearfield these days?
The once-quiet little community -- whose sole purpose in life, I had always assumed, was to act as a sort of spacer to keep places like Syracuse and Clinton from having to get too close to Layton -- has suddenly developed something of an attitude.
And I have to say, I'm not hating it.
I encountered a taste of the city's new 'tude last week as I was driving up Interstate 15 and saw a cryptic billboard that read: "From missiles to mining." It was accompanied by the new Clearfield city logo, with its catchy slogan, "We've got it made."
Get it? "Made"? As in, making things? Manufacturing?
That's right, according to the city's website, officials there have a "desire to promote a more positive image of Clearfield, and tout our strong manufacturing heritage." To that end, the city council approved a public-relations campaign developed by the city's marketing staff -- with radio and print ads, transit media and the above-mentioned billboards. (What? No TV commercials? Best not to show what the place looks like, eh?)
Now, personally, I think this is a fabulous idea. Clearfield has long had an image problem, and it's largely undeserved. Why, the city's own website points to its "neighborly neighborhoods," and stresses that you "can feel relatively safe to walk our streets."
Hmmm, yes. Relatively safe. Curious choice of modifiers. Which begs the obvious question: Relative to what? Inner-city Detroit? Mexico's violent border communities? Syria?
Anyway, the city's new marketing strategy is expected to be a three-year campaign, interspersed with evaluation periods to measure the plan's effectiveness.
Well, I can tell you one thing that is already wildly effective: the new Clearfield city logo. It's a highly stylized image featuring two- and three-story commercial buildings, with geometric-looking mountain peaks in the background. And then, just to make sure you don't forget the city's close ties to the state's largest employer (Hill Air Force Base), the logo includes three fighter jets soaring above it all. As if to say, "That's right, neighboring communities. We have access to our very own air force, and would not hesitate to use it to protect our tax base. So don't even think about trying to lure that Tai Pan Trading away from us."
Now, I do have one bit of constructive criticism here. I think I'd change the "From missiles to mining" part of the campaign.
Don't get me wrong: I really dig the alliteration, and the "missiles" reference is a nice touch -- managing to telegraph another veiled threat to surrounding municipalities who may have missed the subtlety of fighter jets on the city's logo. But "From missiles to mining" also seems a tad limiting. Seriously, it doesn't even get out of the M's, for crying out loud. It appears to be saying, "Hey, we're Clearfield! We've got it all here, from 'M' to, well ... 'M'." (Not to mention it's also reminiscent of our own Junction City marketing campaign of a few years ago -- "Ogden City: From marijuana to meth labs.")
Honestly, if you're going to play with that whole "from-this-to-that" marketing idea, you might want to span more of the alphabet. You know, like the city of St. George does with its current "Everything from A to Zion" marketing campaign.
So maybe here in the north they could do something like: "Clearfield City: From aquatic centers to zoos." Yeah, that's the ticket. 'Cause, I mean, they do have a very fine aquatic center in Clearfield, and they've also got ... oh, wait ... OK, so technically the city doesn't have a zoo. But c'mon, how hard could it be to put one of those things together? You trap a couple of mule deer, sneak over and steal a few rats from the Layton Commons Park, put 'em all in cages inside one of your unused storefronts and slap a "City Zoo" sign outside. NOW you've got everything from A to Z.
Indeed, neighboring Davis County cities would do well to take a page from Clearfield's P.R. book, and come up with clever marketing slogans of their own. Slogans like ...
-- "Clinton: Not affiliated in any way with the adulterous 42nd President of the United States OR that shrew wife of his."
-- "Sunset: No, really. We're an actual city. Honest."
-- "Syracuse: Man, we sure hope a fire doesn't break out around here anytime soon."
-- "Kaysville: RULDS2?"
Now obviously, I'm just spitballing ideas here, and these are merely intended to get the ol' creative juices flowing.
My point is, if Clearfield can improve its image and position itself to be a major economic player in the state, then maybe other cities in Davis County could do it, too. But they'd better act fast.
Before Clearfield develops nuclear weapons.
Contact columnist Mark Saal (official slogan: "From sophomoric humor to scatological references") at 801-625-4272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.