The Jackson Tourism Development Authority chose the logo by a narrow 6-to-5 vote. It pictures the words “Play On” sandwiched underneath a mountain range. The runner-up was a logo with the same words in a playful font sitting on top of an arrow.
The vote came after several tries to hone in on the right image for the county. The Jackson tourism agency hired the branding company BCF to design the logo, the same Virginia-based company that helped come up with the new Jackson tourism slogan “Play On.”
But the majority of the tourism board wasn’t fond of the first design BCF pitched — the one with the arrow. Some on the board felt it looked too playful and juvenile, although some on the board liked it and continued to prefer it over the more classic look that was ultimately chosen.
Nonetheless, BCF made several trips back to the drawing board, and a few heated debates and brainstorming sessions finally yielded a unified logo and slogan ready to be wielded for marketing and promotion purposes.
“It’d be a great bumper sticker,” said County Commissioner Vicki Greene, a county liaison to the tourism board, following the vote.
Having a countywide logo would be a great opportunity to make T-shirts, caps, bumper stickers, and so on, agreed Merrily Teasley, tourism board member and owner of the Balsam Mountain Inn. Like Outer Banks has its “OBX,” Jackson County could use it’s newly christened logo for similar purposes.
“The mountains with ‘Jackson County’ and the simplicity of the design is going to make it easily recognizable,” she said. “It might distinguish us from the rest of North Carolina.”
But excitement on the TDA soon gave way to concern over how to manage the ‘Play On’ slogan and the accompanying logo and authority members began the discussion about how to promote the brand’s use while at the same time protecting it from abuse.
“What happens if a pornographer decides to set up in Jackson County,” said Authority Finance Committee Chairman Robert Jumper. “Is it carte blanche use of this logo?”
There does need to be some scrutiny as to what businesses and organizations can use the logo, he added. The question also surfaced about what color scheme should accompany the logo and if businesses or entities using it can apply their own colors to it. Consistency might be lost if that happened, said Stephanie Edwards, executive director of the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I do think we should have standards for that. You don’t see the IBM logo in a different color,” she said. “If not, I would expect a lot of variation.”