Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/4/2009 (3000 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As a responsible and fair-minded newspaper columnist, I am always on the lookout for legitimate opportunities to make fun of other Canadian cities in a responsible and fair-minded manner.
That's why I became very excited the other day when I read a Canadian Press story stating that Moose Jaw has undergone a rebranding process and come up with a brand new slogan.
Is that exciting news, or what? I'll bet you'd like me to tell you what Moose Jaw's new slogan is. Well, sit down and brace yourself because I'm going to tell you. Their new slogan is -- get ready to be very surprised -- "Moose Jaw: Surprisingly Unexpected."
I'll bet you did not see that slogan coming. When I first heard it, my initial, unbiased journalistic reaction was: "Ha ha ha." I'll bet that was your reaction, too. But then I had another, deeper thought. That thought was: "Huh?" Clearly I needed to probe this story in greater depth via the technique of making an expensive long-distance call to the mayor of Moose Jaw, a very pleasant fellow named Dale McBain, and asking him a series of hard-hitting questions in a sincere effort to be extremely annoying.
Me: "Hello, Dale. I have just read that Moose Jaw has a new slogan. Is this true?"
Dale: "It's true. The new slogan is 'Moose Jaw: Surprisingly Unexpected.'"
Dale: "And our new logo is a stylized moose antler in the form of an exclamation mark."
Dale: "Our old slogan was 'Moose Jaw: The Friendly City.' But we're still friendly."
Me: "Have you had a lot of calls from people making fun of your new slogan?"
Dale: "No, not really."
Me: "So I'll be the first."
Dale: "You'd be the first this week."
Me: "Do you really need both words in the slogan, Dale? I mean, isn't 'Surprisingly Unexpected' kind of 'Remarkably Redundant'?"
Dale: "I guess that could be one of the criticisms."
Me: "Maybe it should just be 'Moose Jaw... SURPRISE!' How about that?"
Dale: "I think people who come here and realize how many things there are to do, they're unexpectedly surprised by it. They didn't expect that."
Me: "Good point. But isn't it like Toronto having the slogan 'Toronto: Terribly Horrible!'?"
Dale: "Ha ha ha ha! As a westerner, I could understand that one."
Me: "Me, too. Can I bounce a few more slogans off you and get your honest reaction?"
Dale: "Sure." Me: "OK, see what you think of this one: 'Moose Jaw: At Least We're Not Regina!'" Dale: "Ha ha ha! That's not bad. Maybe not at the top of my list, but not too bad."
Me: "Thanks, try this one: 'Moose Jaw: No Hurricanes ... Yet!'"
Dale: "Yeah, OK. I don't get as much of a thrill out of that one."
Me: "Fine, try this one: 'Moose Jaw: Pretty Darn Close to Medicine Hat!'"
Dale: "Ha ha ha! Yeah, I guess. We're about three and a half to four hours from Medicine Hat."
Me: "You're like the Twin Cities. So is your new slogan meant to convey the idea that it's 'surprisingly unexpected' that someone built a city where you live?" Dale: "No, it's meant to convey that we have a lot more to offer than meets the eye at first glance or in a Prairie city like Medicine Hat. It grows on you."
Me: "All right, what's the biggest 'surprisingly unexpected' thing in Moose Jaw?"
Dale: "That's a tough one. People expect to see the tunnels and they expect to go to the spa. There's Renata's Tea Room; she has 150 different kinds of tea and she makes this homemade strudel. She's originally from Lichtenstein. You don't expect that."
Me: "No, you wouldn't. Do you know Winnipeg's slogan?" Dale: "No, I'm sorry, I don't." Me: "Neither do I, but I think it's 'Winnipeg: We Have Potholes Bigger Than You!'"
Dale: "You might have. You guys have more winter than we do."
Me: "Do you know our provincial slogan?"
Dale: "Sorry, I don't." Me: "It's 'Manitoba: Spirited Energy.'" Dale: "Huh? That one takes a little more thought than 'Surprisingly Unexpected.'"
Me: "Tell you what, Dale, I'm willing to swap one of our slogans for your new slogan. It's a good deal. We spent about $2.1 million on 'Spirited Energy.'"
Dale: "Boy, I don't think so. Neither of them did it for me. I'm gonna stick with ours."
Me: "My final question is this: Is there any chance you'd send me a free T-shirt with your new slogan on it?"
Dale: "Well, we don't have any T-shirts yet, but, when we do, sure, I'll send you one."
Me: "Now that's surprisingly unexpected."
Dale: "Ha ha ha!"