The Jacksonville-based Ketchum-Burdette marketing and advertising agency presented its revised Nassau County branding program to the County Board of Commissioners last Monday. It didn’t go well.
Locals in the chambers didn’t like what they saw and said so, with several approaching the lectern to voice their blunt disapproval. If anybody agreed they stayed quiet. And if any of the commissioners liked it they also didn’t say, watching passively as the $47,000 worth of “project deliverables” of a new logo, proposed seal, and tagline were displayed by the firm’s President and CEO Will Ketchum.
Following the presentation and public criticism the Commission voted to postpone a decision on accepting the agency’s latest effort until its Monday, July 23, 6 p.m. meeting.
This was the Jacksonville firm’s second shot at providing a new brand for the county. Its previous effort included a seal that featured a railroad track, a spike and what suspiciously looked like a pot leaf, along with the tagline: “True to Our Nature.” That lame effort met with a unanimous “HUH?”
Nobody but the Jacksonville agency seems to have any idea what the tagline “True to Our Nature” means. Mr. Ketchum says that all the “Project Deliverables” were designed: “So that you’re inspired to be true to your unique character as you pursue your dreams.” Well, that certainly clears that up. And yes, he really said that with a straight face. He even had it on one of his presentation charts titled “Nassau County Value Proposition.”
Maybe I don’t get it because I’m not a member of what Mr. Ketchum says is the targeted audience of: “…those who seek authenticity and integrity in everything.”
I used to be in the public relations, advertising and marketing business where clear, crisp and understandable language was customary among my associates and expected by our audiences. It appears a lot has changed. I don’t recall me or my colleagues ever spouting such inane twaddle, at least not while sober.
Some local folks in attendance were taken aback by the price for such a meager offering, with one business owner asking to see an itemized list of expenses. In an attempt to defend his agency’s efforts Mr. Ketchum began sputtering something about “billable hours” but was interrupted by Commissioner Steve Kelley who asked the agency head to provide implementation costs.
How did it get to this point? I was told in May by former County Manager Shanea Jones that since the amount was under $50,000 the request didn’t have to go out for bids. The money was in her “discretionary budget” so she didn’t have to seek approval. Instead of asking the highly qualified and already budgeted Nassau County Economic Development Board for its advice and assistance, the Commission instead discussed cutting the budget of this successful organization, while it’s apparently willing to waste almost 50 grand for a new tagline and logo. And nobody considered asking the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council or the Chambers of Commerce for their advice or guidance. It doesn’t add up.
One lady told the Commissioners that the agency’s image of the flying egret was misleading saying: “Egrets don’t fly with their heads up.” I don’t know a darn thing about birds but I investigated her accusation and it appears she may be onto something, since I couldn’t find a single image of an egret in flight that resembled the one proposed by Mr. Ketchum on his new logo.
Here’s a “heads up” for the Nassau County Commission. If it adopts this or any other new branding concept, the $47,000 will look like chump change, as implementation of the new program will cost tax payers a bundle. Road, truck, car and building signs, uniforms, stationery, business cards, and more will all have to be changed to reflect the new county image. That won’t be cheap.
I suggest that the county might want to review the contract with the agency to see if it is on the hook for the entire $47,000 and if there is any way to retrieve some of that wasted money. I also suggest that in the future discretionary budgets be reviewed, and those who have authority to use one, submit a monthly report to their supervisor explaining any proposed expenditures.
For a county looking at a multimillion dollar budget deficit, actively seeking programs in which to cut expenses, and considering raising taxes on home owners, a new image of the county might more appropriately be tax payers giving the bird to the Commission, and I don’t mean an egret.
Something To Think About: “If people really knew what others said about them, there would not be four friends left in the world.” — Mathematician Blaise Pascal.
Mail Call: In response to a recent blog about failing U.S. newspapers an alert, dedicated reader, part-time Amelia Island resident, and upstate Plattsburgh area, New Yorker, Dave Wilcox, mailed me a hand-written letter recently with a newspaper clipping from his local weekly, the Sun Community News. The editorial he included decries the Trump tariffs on Canadian news print saying they will lead to the shuttering of more U. S. news outlets. However, what impressed me most about Mr. Wilcox’s letter was the fact that he took time to handwrite a note, attached a news clipping, stuff it into an envelope that he personally addressed, added a stamp and mailed it. Think about it. How many times does the mailman stick a handwritten letter in your mailbox. And when he does, I’m betting it’s the first thing you open, right? I like getting mail and so does our grandson, Luke, so that’s why I keep a batch of postcards on my desk that I send the little guy on occasion, much to his delight. Thanks Mr. Wilcox for your gesture.
An Investment Tip To Hang Onto: In response to President Andrew Jackson’s pronouncement: “I will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can find,” a South Carolina politician is reported to have remarked: “When Andrew Jackson starts talking about hanging people, it’s time to start investing in rope.”
Jackson’s rage was directed at South Carolina politicians who threatened to prevent enforcement of federal laws within their state creating what was called the Nullification Crisis, 1832-1833.
If Jackson were around today investors would be frantically buying rope futures while California politicians and officials from mayors to state legislators, the governor, local sheriffs, police chiefs and others would be nervously looking over their shoulders due to their obstruction of the enforcement of federal immigration laws by creating sanctuary cities, not turning over illegal immigrant felons to ICE, etc.
I’m not advocating lynching, but it’s either time to start enforcing the law or for Congress to change it. Following President Jackson’s pronouncement Congress took action. It passed the Force Act that authorized the use of military force against any state that resisted.
Old Fashioned Dining Etiquette: When I was growing up there were three things that we never had at our table — elbows, hats and phones. And there were always two choices for each meal — take it or leave it.
Technology Is Passing Me By: I purchased a new Apple iPhone from the local AT&T store on Sadler Road recently and when I got it home my emails began going haywire. Emails I received on the new phone began vaporizing just seconds after they arrived. I returned to the AT&T store where one employee shrugged her shoulders and told me she had only been employed there for three days while the other more experienced one, tried without success to remedy my problem. I then traveled to a larger AT&T store in River City, a Best Buy Store Geek Squad desk, and the Apple store in Town Center, all without any of their tech experts being able to explain or fix my problem.
My last stop was Megabite, a small computer services shop located at 531 South 8th Street where I encountered Deryck, a pleasant and knowledgeable fellow who quickly analyzed the issue, provided a workable solution, and in less than an hour — for less money than I spent on gas traveling to Jacksonville and back twice.
I now have an new email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) because the one I’ve had for almost 20 years that had “bellsouth” in it apparently became Yahoo, which was purchased by Verizon, which is a competitor of AT&T, and so on, and then it all went kaplooey inside my new iphone. This is all very complicated and confusing as well as very, very annoying and frustrating. It was like buying a new car and having the engine shut down each time you turned on the radio or adjusted the rearview mirror.
Folks using this blog’s email are still able to send me messages as Dyreck is somehow having the old email address forward emails to my new address for up to six months, by which time folks should know my new email address. Don’t ask me how any of this works because I don’t know. I do know I’m glad I found Deryck. Call him at 904/430-0350 or check him out at www.megabite.co.
Things I Wish I’d Said: “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But I’m afraid this wasn’t it” — Groucho Marx.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: The Main Beach Sandbar will be celebrating a very, very happy hour, all day long this Monday, July 16, to mark its first anniversary. Beginning when the doors open at 11 a.m. Bud Light and Yuengling pint drafts will be just a buck until closing. There will be door prizes given out every 30 minutes and one dollar Fire Ball shots will be provided from 11 a.m. to noon, three to four and seven to eight. The Jack Fire Girls will be in house from two until four and the Three Olive Girls from 4:30 until six. There will also be one dollar slices of pizza at hours I haven’t been able to determine but I’ll be there. The new Lagniappe (lan-yap) restaurant at 4810 First Coast Highway next to the Harris Teeter grocery store complex, officially opened to the public this past Tuesday. Lagniappe, a Creole word meaning to give a little something extra, is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Brian and Melanie Grimley, who recently sold downtown’s Lulu’s at the Thompson House on South 7th Street. Their new eatery is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, offering lunch, dinner as well as a late menu. Chef Carey Todd, who has owned and worked in restaurants locally for 20 years is working side-by-side with Brian in the kitchen while wife Melanie handles the front end of the house. Prices are extremely reasonable for the variety of Creole-southern kitchen selections including appetizers of Bang Island mussels with blue cheese and bacon for $12 to Norwegian steel head salmon brulee ($15), jumbo lump crab cake ($15) and a southern meat and cheese board for an economical $16, the most expensive item on that part of the menu. There are others as well like the half sandwich and a cup of soup for just $12, but those caught my eye. The Fat Men From Space will be paying a visit soon to tuck into the $12 half pound double cheeseburger that comes with a side of Creole potato salad as do all the eatery’s lunch time sandwiches, which are all very reasonably priced with the most expensive ones at $14 and for that you get a crab cake sandwich, or something called an “L” burger for with an onion ring, tomato jam and arugula. There are also Po Boys with shrimp or fish for $12 and one with oysters for $14, a pastrami on rye for $14, plus many more, none over $14. Salads are also plentiful ranging in price from $7 for the Caesar and house version and $18 for a crabmeat maison one. The dinner menu is equally varied and reasonably priced with the most expensive thing I could find being a $32 filet mignon or New York strip with a variety of vegetables included and a crab cake dinner. Friend Joe Murphy raves about the $28 seared ocean scallops with leek potato puree, corn and bacon saute, that he says was more than he could eat. My favorites on the late night menu were the $12 “Daily Poutine”, featuring that day’s gravy with cheese curds and fries, making this the only place on the island or nearby that serves this unusual Canadian treat. Oh, you can even get a corn dog for just $8, about the same price as one at the county fair. There are a number of other main courses, sides, lunches and late night offerings, ensuring that it’ll take a number of visits to sample this tasty and varied menu. And why not drop the wife off at Harris Teeter and then stop by between 4-6 p.m. for happy hour at the cozy 18 seat bar. Call ’em at 904/844-2634.