Still Revolutionary: $27 Million State Tourism Campaign Launched
By MARA LEE
May 14, 2012
The new tourism slogan — "Connecticut: Still Revolutionary" — could boost history-related attractions, but it's also meant to remind residents and visitors that the state is a leader in the arts, science and engineering, and civil rights.
"It's not just about tourism, it's about getting our step back," said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who announced the slogan and a $27 million, two-year campaign at a packed press conference Monday at Hartford's Old State House — which was, of course, the state Capitol not long after the American Revolution.
"We have ceded history to Boston and Virginia," Malloy said. "We have an equal claim to that."
Connecticut's place as one of the original 13 colonies and its leading role in the country's industrial revolution are known to most people with an interest in history, but Malloy reminded listeners of other ways in which Connecticut has led:
Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum was the first museum to host an exhibit of Modern Art.
The state was the first to invest in stem-cell research.
This year's Pulitzer-prize winning play was commissioned by Hartford Stage and premiered there.
Igor Sikorsky invented the helicopter here and the company remains a major innovator here.
A lawsuit filed in Connecticut when a young married woman was denied access to the birth control pill resulted in a Supreme Court ruling — Griswold v. Connecticut — that made contraception widely accessible.
"The sexual revolution was fought and won here in Connecticut," Malloy said.
The state also was the third in the nation to legalize gay marriages.
Malloy said the $27 million that the state will spend over the next two years on TV and print advertising, billboards and ads in train stations in New York and Philadelphia, welcome centers and brochures is about promoting places to visit, but it's also "a much larger campaign to rethink who we are."
It's a dramatic increase from recent years. Last summer, for example, there was no state funding to promote tourism, just $850,000 from private donors.
Malloy did not say how much of an increase in visitors would be viewed as a success, but said the state will pay attention to the numbers.
Chowder Inc., a New York ad agency, came up with the slogan and directed the TV commercials that will air on season finales of hit shows such as "Dancing with the Stars" and"Modern Family."
There has been some snickering about the fact that the state went elsewhere for the creative contract, but the work was competitively bid. The cost of the creative work was about $500,000 — and two Connecticut firms shared that work. The state will spend $7 million through this summer on ad buys.
State residents said the two-minute video that will be excerpted in the commercials showed the state in a very appealing way.
The new slogan follows a series of tourism catch-phrases such as "Better Yet Connecticut (1980); CLASSIConnecticut: Pride of New England (1987) and Connecticut, We're Full of Surprises (1993).
Sandy Jenkins of Bridgeport, who was one of the more than 1,500 people to submit ideas to the "What's Your Connecticut Story?" contest, said watching the video made her want to go to places in the state she has yet to visit. "It was captivating," she said.
The Essex Steam Train, Gillette Castle, the Connecticut River and shoreline, Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium are all prominent in the video, although it also flashes on the casinos, Goodspeed Opera House and the Hartford skyline.
Thomas Fatone of Shelton, who said he has visited every town in Connecticut, said the video's music, composed by Bruce Woolley and sung by Dinelle Glaze, a University of Connecticut student who is backed by the Hartford Symphony, was "very, very catchy."
He said watching the video "was very emotional."
One of the story lines in the video, which has no dialogue, is a middle-aged African American couple researching the man's ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War. They ride together on a motorcycle to the edge of a wooded patch, where he imagines catching a glimpse of soldiers, including his ancestor.
In downtown Hartford, people reacted well to the "Still Revolutionary" slogan.
Omar Bahamonde of Malborough said he's glad the administration is dedicating millions to promote tourism.
Connecticut's exit from major tourism advertising has been a sore point in recent years. Discover New England, an organization that promotes New England to European tourists, literally wiped Connecticut off the regional map in December 2010 after the state eliminated its budget for tourism marketing and couldn't pay the $100,000 in annual dues.
"I think we need to be a little more aggressive," Bahamonde said.
Sonia Asare of Windsor said, "Sounds great. Anything to attract more people to the area would be perfect."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at