After spending nearly three years and $20 million on various PR campaigns, Mayor Shirley Franklin's attempt to market the city has failed to convince tourists – or even locals – to change the way they view Atlanta. Except maybe with embarrassment.
The launch of Brand Atlanta in late 2005 included a new city logo, slogan and theme song produced by Dallas Austin. Austin's track "The A-T-L" contained such lyrics as:
They say Atlanta is where you go to become your dreams.
In a world that has room for opportunity. Oh!
Lord, I love A-T-L.
More than any other place I've been around the world.
Not one for subtle messages, Brand Atlanta's first slogan, "Every day is an opening day," was followed by a rebrand in 2007, "City Lights, Southern Nights." Eight million dollars from public taxes funded the project, yet the marketing efforts still made little impact.
Brand Atlanta reported that the city's share in the top 25 U.S. travel markets increased a marginal .2 percent from 2005 to 2006 – and that the modes hike did nothing to increase Atlanta's tax revenue from hotel stays.
The red ATL trademark will continue to be used at airport merchandise stores and elsewhere around the city, but it seems that future multimillion-dollar advertising ploys are on hiatus until the group can find new funding. Try as hard as it might, Brand Atlanta's braintrust just couldn't put A-T-L out there.