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Friday, August 11, 2006

What Utah Does Best

Back in February I blogged about Utah's quest for a new state slogan (see Marketing Utah). The Salt Lake City advertising agency which was working on creating the slogan promised that it
"will reveal 'the look of Utah,' 'the soul of Utah' and 'the sound of Utah,' all composing the 'emotional core of Utah.'"

The new slogan has been chosen and is now firmly in place. It is, "Utah: Life Elevated."


The Utah Office of Tourism explains,
The Utah experience can be summarized with two words: LIFE ELEVATED. In Utah, you stand on top of King's Peak looking down from nearly 14,000 feet and you are breathless. Or you stand at the bottom of a slot canyon in The San Rafael Swell, enveloped by rock walls, and look up 300 feet for a sliver of sunset. Utah is peaks and Utah is valleys. Utah is snow and Utah is sunshine. Utah is very red, yet it is also very white and green and a whole palette of color. Utah is Life Elevated.

Life Elevated is not just a slogan. It is not just a tag line. Advertising experts call it the expression of our brand voice. It is a summary of a wide range of Utah experiences that have the power to lift the heart and stir passions. It is a quick, easy way to remember what Utah does best: put you on high ground and provide you with a new set of eyes.

As I wrote before, Utah is a beautiful state. The mountain peaks and rocky valleys make me think about God and the grandeur of His creation, an expression of Himself. I agree that the beauty of Utah is accurately reflected in the new slogan.

Yet when I first read the explanation of Life Elevated I thought the slogan was leaving out another very prominent aspect of the state -- "Utah's hottest tourist destination," Temple Square. How is the unique element of a state populated and governed by a majority religion reflected in the slogan that is a "summary of a wide range of Utah experiences"? Utah doesn't want to be known as "the Mormon state," but you can't very well sum up Utah without at least an honorable mention of the LDS Church.

As I thought about it, I began to wonder. Could it be that Life Elevated includes Mormonism after all? Perhaps the slogan is a nod to the LDS doctrine of eternal progression. The Salt Lake Temple (and all 10 of the other LDS temples in Utah) exists for the purpose of "providing the ordinances necessary" for people to achieve Godhood.

I'd say the goal of temple Mormons -- evolving from a sinful human being to exaltation as a ruling God over a self-created planet -- would easily qualify as "life elevated." This is what Mormonism promises those who are considered worthy by LDS standards.

The new Utah slogan might reflect the promise of exaltation to Godhood, but be careful. Branding and advertising are vehicles used to entice people. It's very well-known that advertisers often make promises that cannot be kept.

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