It was the summer of 2008 – a hot summer despite the ice-cold economy. The Great Recession had the country reeling and advertising budgets were among the first victims. Craigslist has decimated the newspaper classifieds and Monster.com and others ruled the “help wanted” dollars. Plus, the Internet was poised to replace all printed media in a matter of years anyway… so said the experts.
This was the precise moment I decided to create the magazine you’re holding right now. I must have been nuts.
What I didn’t realize was just how much Columbus would grow – and us with it. We could never fill 100+ creative and inspiring pages every month without the city doing its part. And that it has. I hope (614) Magazine has been a small part of that.
The depth of experiences available to residents and visitors here is remarkable – especially considering how different this city was just five and 10 years ago. Apart from the weather, there is virtually nothing that has not improved for the better in Columbus. Cowtown, indeed.
The ironic part is watching our public sometimes struggle with identity. What’s with this quest for a slogan that can define this city, anyway? I’m sure the marketing people at Experience Columbus would like one. But do we really need it?
If you haven’t noticed, the rest of the country is already taking notice that something special is happening here. From the tourism growth and the endless lists we find ourselves climbing, we’re all very aware of just how good we’ve become. All without a slogan.
But since the city didn’t “need” another magazine back in 2009 and I took that plunge, why not take a stab at this slogan thing, too…
I’ll say this – Columbus may not be the first to do a lot of it, but man do we like to experiment. From food, beverage and buy local to festivals, sports, arts and outdoors, we do it all. Like my wife says, “I’ll try anything once. Twice if I like it.”
The list of standout things we have going for us would be far too long for the tiny space my editor allotted me for this piece – something about paper and ink costing money, he said. But you already know the story. You’ve read about it in the nearly 6,500 pages published in (614) Magazine over these past five years. There couldn’t possibly be just one outstanding thing that measures up to some slogan, so here you go:
Columbus: no slogan necessary, thanks.
Now that’s off my chest, it’s time for some non-sarcastic thanks. First, to those early employees who took a chance taking a job with a small-time publisher. As Bette Midler said, “you are the wind beneath my wings…”
Second, thank you to our advertisers who trust us to deliver their brands’ message with quality and integrity. There’s truth to the Levi’s slogan: “quality never goes out of style.”
Last and certainly not least: thanks to the hundreds of thousands of readers who have picked up one of our magazines in these past five years. You are the reason I get up every morning.
Well, that and to let my dog out.
Wayne T. Lewis is President and CEO of (614) Media Group, and the founder of(614) Magazine. Do you think you can come up with a better slogan for Columbus than he did? Send your best jingles to email@example.com; the best will be printed in next month’s feature, “Inside the Parentheses”