MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

January 31, 2013

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Use Merle’s help for branding city

— Really? Warrior City? And the image that comes to mind is, oh yes warriors! Western books and movies are filled with images of Indian warriors plundering, robbing, raping, and killing. Don’t forget the image of road warriors in futuristic movies plundering, robbing, raping, and killing.

Off the top of my head I do not have an alternate suggestion for a label for Muskogee. But, do we really need a “label?” How about just Muskogee and use the greatest advantage we have for world-wide recognition? Merle Haggard and “Okie from Muskogee.”

Wherever I have been from New York to Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, California, Florida and many points in between people invariably ask if I’m an Okie from Muskogee if I just identify myself as just being from Oklahoma. They don’t ask if I’m from OK City or Tulsa but am I an Okie from Muskogee. Tulsa and OK City Chambers and Visitor and Convention Centers would love that instant recognition. You want recognition and visitors? You should have saved that $50,000 consulting fee and enlisted Merle Haggard to help the city that inspired him to put us on the map

Draw visitors off the highway? Commission a statue of Merle and place it on the courthouse steps. Another pose at the Music Hall of Fame.

Then Billboards on I-40 East and West about 20 miles from the US 69 exits and on US 69 of course. “See Merle at the Court House Steps” It will draw.

How about mailing a CD of Okie From Muskogee along with promotional material to every tour operator, radio and TV travel producer, and print travel publication? Use what you have! Merle gave it to you. Use it! Okie from Muskogee as they say in the hotel business, it will put heads on the pillows and everybody benefits.

Local people don’t like Okie from Muskogee? Education on the benefits of the theme and constant reminders of actual tax revenue due to tourism will eventually bring them around.

ED MATTSON

Muskogee

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