Bradenton area could do better than 'Real. Authentic. Florida' slogan

September 16, 2012 

Look out, "Friendly City."

The sweet, albeit snoozer, slogan for the City of Bradenton has competition.

"Real. Authentic. Florida."

It's our official new catch phrase.

Manatee County tourism officials announced "Real. Authentic. Florida." last week as part of a rebranding endeavor.

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, explained his team based the slogan on "research."

The agency paid a consultant, talked to a bunch of prospective tourists and people who will benefit from a boost in vacationers to the area.

Falcione found a recurring focus on the Bradenton area's small-town charm -- which I love, but think could be celebrated with something better than:

"Real. Authentic. Florida."

The slogan manages to be at once boring, vague and redundant.

My dictionary of choice -- more on that in a minute -- defines "authentic" as "true; certain; credible; genuine."

Flip back a couple hundred pages and under "real" it reads: "Actually being or existing; not artificial, counterfeit or factitious; true; genuine; authentic."

So two out of three words in the new Bradenton area slogan mean pretty much the same thing.

At least according to my Webster Common School Dictionary, copyright 1892.

It's signed, in schoolgirl cursive, "Katheryn Stancliff's Bradentown, Florida,"

I bought it the other day while shopping with the fiancee at Frankie Z's Furnishings and Consignments off Cortez Road across from The Clam Factory.

We've bought a bunch of vintage stuff -- tables, signs, books -- at Frankie Z's.

The shop, basically a garage full of dusty treasures, has the kind of folksy appeal people cherish about Bradenton.

But that you won't find reflected in our new slogan.

"Real. Authentic. Florida."

And what exactly do those synonymous adjectives say about our part of Florida?

The "real" or "authentic" Florida could mean anything from packed theme parks to square grouper shipments to the skanky nightclubs of South Beach.

And I don't think Bradenton area tourism officials want to convey any of that.

Looking for truth in advertising?

"Less snobby than Sarasota."

Wade Tatangelo, features writer and columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow him on Twitter@wtatangelo.

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