Monday, March 28, 2005

"Houston, we have a problem..."

So the Chronicle has an article this morning asking if the "Houston, we have a problem" phrase of Apollo 13 fame has become a cliché. This phrase has become such an ingrained part of American and even global culture, I've always wondered if Houston could somehow leverage it into a new identity for the city to move beyond "Space City" or "Bayou City".
  • Houston: Problem Solving City
  • Houston: City of Problem Solvers
  • Houston: Problem Solved

...or something like that. As you can see, none of them are too catchy. But the ad campaign would be a lot easier. Imagine a full page magazine ad:

  • Top of page: "Houston, we have a problem..."
  • Then: a person or company complaining about some issue in their current location (ex. "Housing costs a fortune where I live." or "My company needs better access to global markets.") along with some picture/visualization of the problem.
  • Mid page dividing line, then "Houston here. We have a solution..."
  • Then some relevant facts about Houston that address the problem along with another appropriate picture/visualization.
  • Some sort of closing tag line and/or logo at the bottom: "Houston, Texas - Problem Solved"
I think it could be a pretty memorable "brand building" campaign, especially in the business press. I'm not going to name names, but we've certainly run worse campaigns in the past.

If you have your own thoughts on the phrase and/or integrating it into an identity for the city, I'd love to hear 'em in the comments area.

(BTW, this is not the Houston identity mentioned in the kickoff post. That will be part of a multi-post series to come later.)

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