October 15, 2007

"When you say Wisconsin, people most often think of the Green Bay Packers, cheeseheads, beer and cold weather."

Does Wisconsin need rebranding? Apparently, the Wisconsin "brand" ranks 37th among states. States that rank higher: Kansas, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Utah. New Jersey is 50th. (Even after "The Sopranos"?) California ranked first, of course.

How would you bolster the Wisconsin brand? And are all the states supposed to get into a big competition to have the most lustrous brand? I guess it's good federalism for the states to compete this way, by making you think well of them. Federalism and advertising — they go together under the heading "American" (even as Packers and beer go together under the heading "Wisconsin").


hdhouse said...

as it is wisconsin i think this needs a sense of humor more than anything.

why am i doing this? i do this for a living? is there money at the end of this?

bill said...

When I think of Wisconsin, in order:

1. Summer weekends on many lakes (lots of friends whose families had cabins in Wisconsin [lots of alcohol, mostly beer])
2. Sprecher (beer)
3. Leinenkugel (beer)
4. Skydiving at Baldwin (at soon as the last plane took off, the bonfire was lit and the keg was tapped)
5. Alcohol legal at 18. It no longer is, but factored heavily in #1 for a year.
6. Bicycling in La Crosse. Well-run cycling club with nicely mapped rides through the river bluffs. Never did any drinking in La Crosse, though they are home to the world's largest six-pack.

I'm quite happy with the Wisconsin brand.

Mr. B. said...

Seem bogus to me...

Rhode Island?
West Virginia?

Sorry, these places - and some others on the list - don't cut it. Something about this pretty good university in Wisconsin, and a lot of other factors.

Ciao, Bonzo

George M. Spencer said...

Dick Wilson (the guy who played Mr. Whipple) appeared in more than 500 Charmin commercials...

See the photo w/the linked Wisconsin (C) TM story.

Now that is news....

MadisonMan said...

How nice that the people in the Legislature are doing this. Meanwhile, the state budget is -- what -- 110 days late?

Wisconsin should really change things so that the budget cycle starts in the July right before all the Assemblymen are elected. Can you imagine them all running for re-election right now with no budget passed?

But that can be Wisconsin's message: We don't need no steenkin' budget!

Original Mike said...

What in the world is wrong with Packers, cheese, beer, and winter? If people don't like them, we don't want them coming here, anyway. Seriously.

bearbee said...

California ranked first, of course

California.....the State of rolling blackouts? Nice.
Again, where is Rhode Island?
Kansas? Hmmm.... Corn or is it wheat, Toto and Dorothy.
West Virginia...coal mines and Robert Byrd.

KCFleming said...

Branding often seems to be a fight for style over substance. Better to live in a good place that no one knows about. Keeps out the riff raff.

Here in Minnesota I think we ought to rebrand to
Gateway to North Dakota,
Closed for Inventory,
or more directly GO AWAY

Ron said...

Will you eat a brat while wearing a Packers helmet for an online ad for Wisconsin? "Wisconsin: It's all about the blogging."

rhhardin said...

Wisconsin is a niche state. We could do without it.

It would make more sense as part of Canada, except then Canada would have three language interest groups trying to secede.

Ron said...

"Wisconsin: It's Facebook -- with beer!"

AllenS said...

I live in Wisconsin, and love Wisconsin. It could use some improvements, such as: Giving southern WI, including Madison and Milwaukee to Illinois. Annexing Northern Michigan to Wisconsin and make Green Bay the capital. Oh, and free beer.

Laura Reynolds said...

Wisconsin: Tidal wave free for 2 billion years.

Oh sorry, that's Indiana.

ricpic said...

Minnesota is also the gateway to South Dakota: The Billboard State.

Original Mike said...

AllenS for Governor!

bill said...

It would make more sense as part of Canada, except then Canada would have three language interest groups trying to secede.

Anyone else watch That 70s Show? There was one episode where they decided to drive to Canada for beer. Ignoring the fact that it was Wisconsin in the 70s and not exactly hard for teenagers to get beer, that's not a practical drive. Let's take Madison as an example. If you head west, it's 5.5 hours to Duluth and then it's still another 3 hours to the Canadian border. Head east and it'll take you at least 8 hours to get to Sault Ste Marie (a lovely town and I recommend a tour of the locks). So, no, Wisconsin is not close to Canada.

Swifty Quick said...

Go with your strong suit: the Pack, cheeseheads, beer, and cold weather. It isn't bad, and nobody else can touch it.

paul a'barge said...

the BoDeans.
the best Mexican food outside of Texas (in Milwaukee, under the big clock tower)

Unknown said...

Wisconsin is fine. It's the people who don't think that "Green Bay Packers, cheeseheads, beer, and cold weather" are a good thing that are the problem. :)

Laura Reynolds said...

Paul: "best Mexican food outside of Texas"

As New Mexican, that statement makes no sense.

barracuda said...

Stolen from Michael Feldman (Whaddya Know?): Wisconsin--Come Smell our Dairy Air! (say it out loud)

Anthony said...

South Dakota: The Billboard State.

Godalmighty, don't remind me. I put up with 500 miles of Wall Drug billboards once. Never. Again.

They could probably use northern Wisconsin as vacation fodder. Lots of beautiful scenery up there. And Door County. But heck, the Packers are a worthwhile symbol of the state anyhow.

Roger J. said...

Wisonsin: at least we arent Mississippi.

Apologies to Mississipians, but one of my colleagues from Arkansas proposed this motto when Arkansas had a contest to change its motto.

As to the question: what wrong with the Pack, its fans, beer and cold weather (OK---add brats and you have a winner).

Cedarford said...

I question the validity of a "brand survey" that places wealthy New Jersey on the bottom - below Rhode Island, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Carolina.

Perhaps below Vermont - the land of gay anal sex and Ben&Jerry's ice cream, sometimes together....

I guess a lot of it comes from "surveyed" people that only follow the football image. Where people eat odd fatty things and talk about Wisconsin's "secret edge" in football is that it becomes a frozen wasteland that other football teams cannot bear before any other state's NFL stadium.

It's more than that, of course..Its the land of Laverne & Shirley. Of crazed Hmong killers stalking the woodlands. Along with Austin, Boulder, and U Illinois at Urbana - Land of Lefty Bastions between the Coasts.
It's the Walleye State, land of Chicagoan summer cottages devoted to fishing them..

Trooper York said...

Laverne: Tell me again why we live in Wisconsin.
Shirley: Well there’s the cheese.
Carime: And the Packers.
Frank: The beer.
Sguiggy (entering the door) Hellooooo!
Laverne: And the guys, don’t forget the guys!
Shirley: I moving to Alaska!
(Laverne & Shirley 1977)

Steven said...

Note that this was an international survey of US state brands, and includes overseas perception. Which creates some odd results. Non-US respondents claimed to have visited the State of Washington the fourth-most, while ranking it as 49th in natural beauty among the states. This is probably due to international confusion of the state with Washington, DC.

Trooper York said...

Cyrus replied to Roger:
"When you add brats you have a winner.'
Please pay more attention to your conclusions. When you add brats you have a wiener. Reference my link to Frankfurt statistical review of Sausage Making March issue Volume 6 pages 12-13.
Sharpen up please.

paul a'barge said...

Paul: "best Mexican food outside of Texas"

As New Mexican, that statement makes no sense.

I could have been a tad more specific by saying Norteno Mexican food, but then no one in Texas thinks that what passes for Mexican food in New Mexico is Mexican food anyway.

On the other hand, we don't want to offend the folks whose state encompasses the Hatch Valley.

Roger J. said...

Trooper: Have mercy, man--thats the finest string of puns I have seen. Are you the ghost of Tom Leher come back to wield satire? (as I wipe the coffee spatters nitor).

Unknown said...

Based on the shootings over the past year, involving hunters, students and anybody else Wisconsin's don't particularly like, maybe instead of cheese wrapped around their heads...bright yellow Kevlar Vests wrapped around their vital organs might be in order.

Laura Reynolds said...

Paul: I am one that does not split hairs so can be happy in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Fort Worth or Dallas, but I prefer Hatch Green Chile.

We call the Texas variety Tex-Mex, so in that realm your original comment could be correct.

John Stodder said...

When I visited Milwaukee (where I have a family member), I noticed there were posters featuring sailboats.

I don't think most people realize how much of Wisconsin is coastal. So I would suggest renaming it Wisconsin-by-the-sea.

Unknown said...

John Stodder said..."...I have a family member..."

Do they admit it?

bill said...

John Winger: C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like we're going into Wisconsin.

Russell Ziskey: Well I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin once. Forget it!

Veeshir said...

How would you bolster the Wisconsin brand?
I have a question about your brand, why is every tv show about a previous era that's any good set in Wisconsin? Happy Days and That 70s Show both set in Wisconsin and they are/were good shows, that 80s Show was teh crap and was cancelled quickly.

So maybe your brand is "nostalgia".

blake said...

bill (murray?) quotes Stripes for teh win.

I suspect Steven is right, though. I also noticed that the survey is international and--well, I didn't want to register to download it, but I wonder if there's a mixup between "awareness" and "perception of quality".

Hard to believe, with the success of "The Sopranos", that New Jersey's at the bottom of an awareness list (unless foreigners think of it as New York City) but not as hard to believe it might have a very dim view of it. ("The Sopranos" might be a factor there, too.)

Trooper York said...

[victim is lying dead on the floor, with a cheese knife in his head]
Ryan Wolfe: The cheese knife is missing from this block of cheddar, could be our murder weapon.
Alexx Woods: [sarcastically] Nice work, Ryan. Think you may have cracked the case.
Ryan Wolfe: Thanks. I have a keen grasp of the obvious.
(CSI Wisconsin ,Saturdays 8 pm CBS)

PeterP said...

Any State that decrees that to "...alter or remove any identification mark on any log or other lumber without the consent of the owner..." is the primary noteworthy branding offence possible gets my - and David Lynch's - vote.

And anyway I love Kansas, so if you got them beat I'd stick with what you know.

former law student said...

Wisconsin: Have a beer! And a brat!
(pronounced braht for you outlanders)

former law student said...

bill said...
When I think of Wisconsin, in order:

1. Summer weekends on many lakes(lots of friends whose families had cabins in Wisconsin

Clearly, Bill is an FIB.

greg.obyrne said...


Washington comes in at number 5...but it's a mistake.


bill said...

Former law student, if by FIB you mean the next to last item on this list, why would you presume that? There are other states. Even states that don't work with i. If you mean something, then I'm stumped.

former law student said...

bill: To spend summer weekends in Wisconsin, you'd have to live only a few hours away. For you to have had lots of friends whose families had cabins in Wisconsin, you would have to have lived in a contiguous state. For you to have considered lake cabins to be somewhat noteworthy, you are unlikely to have come from Minnesota (Land of Ten Thousand Lakes) or da YooPee (Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice). Considering that the population of Wisconsin doubled on summer weekends thanks to Illinoisans, the conclusion that you were an FIB is obvious.

(Had you grown up in Wisconsin, it would evoke more things than weekends and beer. It's barely possible you're say, a Floridian who went to school in Wisconsin and decided to stay there in the summers for the beer and the babes.)

Trooper York said...

Catherine Willows: What's up, David? You find something?
David Phillips: I was just thinking that I wouldn't be caught dead in those shorts.
(CSI Wisconsin 2007)

Richard Fagin said...

The Wisconsin brand went south after Bill Proxmire left the Senate. He really was a class act and we need a few more of him.

bill said...

Sorry former law student, you failed. Miserably. You've constructed a faulty set of assumptions based on a limited worldview and personal anecdotes. Expand your horizons.

Baldwin, WS is just across the St. Croix river making for an inconvenient drive from Illinois. Turns out, if you live in the Twin Cities and the southern suburbs, then western Wisconsin is much more accessible than northern Minnesota.

If you'd like, I could probably put together one of my favorite cycling routes. From the Minnesota State fairgrounds head through White Bear Lake, cross over the St. Croix at Stillwater. Take 35 to F and cross back into Minnesota at Prescott. Take Hwy 61 back towards downtown St. Paul and then there's a couple of options to finish the ride.

Auntie Ann said...

The best way would be to go back to the popular idea of having car license plates read:

"Eat Cheese Or Die!"

Show a little humor on a national level.

Original Mike said...

Trooper: A brat is not a wiener, but I wouldn't expect a New Yorker to know that.

Marcus Aurelius said...


You from WI? I recall at the Belmont Club you made a comment that got me to thinking like that.