Meadowlands State Fair defends Donald Trump-inspired slogan this year
The Meadowlands State Fair has adopted a potentially controversial slogan that continues their marketing tradition of off-beat billboard slogans.
"Making New Jersey Great Again" was one of six different slogans used to promote the annual fair, which runs through July 10 at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. It's a play on the slogan of presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Managing Director Michele Tartaglione said she has seen some the reaction from both supporters and critics of The Donald. But Tartaglione said it also means that the message, no matter how controversial, is working.
"You're talking about it, right? That's what advertising supposed to do," said Tartaglione.
"What we do is we kind of sit around in the beginning of the year before the fair and try to come up with ideas, phrases and things that are going to catch attention. And then we vote, we meaning our creative team and then we get other people in the office involved in it and vote on what we think is funny and will grab headlines. Of course at that time it wasn't as contentious as it is now but it certainly is timely."
Tartaglione said she doesn't know why anyone would be offended by the slogan. "Everyone has their own opinion on everyone. That's the way it is in America."
Comments to an NJ Advance Media story shared on the Fair's Facebook page are mostly critical of the slogan. Julie Galorenzo wrote that she thinks the slogan is "still in poor taste. Explaining it doesn't make it better or funny." Megan McMahon said taking the slogan at face value and wrote her version of the slogan: "making New Jersey hate again." Tamika Williams-Snead found the slogan in "very poor taste and we will not be in attendance. This post should go viral and be boycotted."
Tartaglione said the slogans are used on billboards and posters. Other slogans being used this year include: "The Boss of all Fairs" featuring a boy wearing a leather jacket and a guitar, Finger Lickin' Fun," "We Got BIG STICKS" promoting their shish-kabobs, "Tossing you Around Since 1986" and "30 Years of Ups and Downs." The "great" slogan was meant to be fun and not political.
"We have been doing timely, silly and irreverent fair slogans since 2006," Tartaglio said. "The Animals Live, Stuffed and Fried" drew controversy from animal rights groups who organized an email protest campaign. "Rides, Small Medium and Holy $#%" drew scorn from people who thought it was a real curse being used.
"We put the Joy in Joisey" and "Fuhgedditboutit" were other slogans used in the past. "This has been going on since we took over the fair three or four years into it. The first year we had really cute things and sweet things and didn't get very much attention but then when we started being a little more irreverent and timely we started getting attention."