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Posted on Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

Dave!Washington State is a pretty amazing place. We've got a rain-forest, a beautiful coastline, the San Juan islands, the Columbia River, plenty of mountains & lakes, yummy apples, famous wines, the world's biggest extinct waterfall, a huge dam, the Space Needle, and lots of other cool stuff. It's a happenin' place, and I kind of like living here. You should drop by and see it if you get a chance.

And with all the nifty stuff we got, you'd think it would be easy to sell the place as a tourist destination.

But apparently it's more difficult than you'd think. A team of 32 "experts" spent 18 months (and heaven only knows how much money) working on a new slogan for us, and what did they come up with?


Which has a lot of Washingtonians saying "say WHAT?!?"

Most people do not like it at all, and just about every publication in the state has called it stupid (or worse). This makes the prospect of a half-million dollar ad campaign a little hard for people to understand when they see stuff like this...


When all I can picture is this...

Lucy SayWA

Personally, I don't get it. What is this trying to say to potential visitors? It's like hipster slang gone wrong instead of a compelling campaign to get people thinking of Washington as vacation destination. Oh well. The real shame is that this could have been a decent concept... for Oklahoma. "SayOK" has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Anyway, here's a list of things I DON'T want to do today...

  1. Get out of bed.
  2. Take a shower.
  3. Go to work.
  4. Pack an overnight bag.
  5. Waste 3 hours driving to Spokane.
  6. Spend the night in a hotel.

But, lucky me, I get to do all six!! The good news is that once I get to Spokane, there's a fresh episode of Veronica Mars waiting for me tonight...


And, of course, the best pizza in the known universe at David's Pizza. That's almost worth the trip all by itself, so maybe this won't be such a bad day after all?

Looks like I am off to SeeWA.

So SeeYA.

Categories: Travel 2006Click To It: Permalink


  1. Bre says:

    Yeah that’s… special. One of my favorite things is to read the license plate slogans, and I’m severely irritated at Pennsylvania for going from the “keystone state” to “you’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania” to the state website. Bo-ring.

    What would you suggest for WA as an alternative?

  2. nic says:

    “Say OK” is actually pretty good. The experts from Washington “musta got high”.

  3. Chanakin says:

    What group of soccer moms came up with that? What happened to truth in advertising?

    “Washington: We’re the One Without All the SOB’s”

  4. Chase says:

    Yeah, you should’ve written our (Oklahoma’s) motto. What DO we have on our plate? That’s right “Oklahoma is OK”. Yaawwwwwwn. We’re just ok. Eh, not that special. Don’t come here..unless you’re like…really bored and stuff. Because we’re just ok. And not even that ok.

    I’ve never been to WA, but would like to. And, honestly, I like that ad. It’s cute. Or maybe I’m just a wino. Whatever works.

  5. theMike says:

    “SayWA: It’s like California, with less traffic, smog, not as nice weather and an ocean you can’t swim in”.

    Hmm, could’ve been worse….could’ve been much worse.

  6. Kevin says:

    I see where they were going with it, and I’m sure it sounded much better in their little committee boardroom. But, once translated over, it sucks donkeys.

    What’s an “extinct waterfall”?

  7. adena says:

    Washington- It rains more than Oregon.

    (And, really…”Say WA”?? Ugh.)

  8. Eve says:

    Hmm… they show you a photo of what would be the sound of taste buds?

    You’re right, this is the worst attempt to shanghai some slang, but it’s not even “hipster” it’s hip hop! There should be a ganster rapper stepping on those grapes! WA to your mutha!

    Those “experts” that came up with that enticing Say Wa slogan were probably all those 2.0 average marketing students (hey, if a C average can get you the Presidency, then how hard could it be to get the gig as a state slogan writer?).

    Well, at least your state slogan isn’t conceded like mine: I ♥ NY – Yup, here in New York, we ♥ NY, but we don’t particuliarly ♥ each other, although we’re sandwiched close enough together where we’re practically ♥ing each other.

  9. Dave2 says:

    Sigh. I so totally ♥ NY.

  10. Dave2 says:

    Bre: But I do have friends in Pennsylvania! What would I suggest? Hmmm… can I get back to you in 18 months? 🙂

    Nic: If “SayWA” was the best choice after 18 months of work, I can’t imagine what some of the rejected slogans must have been!

    Chanakin: Truth in advertising?? HA HA HA HAAAHHH! Thanks Chanakin! I can always count on you to brighten my day!

    Chase: Now “Oklahoma is OK” is kind of lame, I agree. Of course, I haven’t yet been to OK, so I can’t say for sure if it’s okay or not. 🙂

    theMike: Oh sure… it could have been worse… “Washington: The Big Happy Fun State!” comes to mind.

    Kevin: Hey… are you saying Washington State sucks donkeys?? Why don’t you come over HERE and say that!! Dry Falls is extinct in that there’s no water there any more. Back when there WAS water, it was the largest waterfall on planet earth. Here’s the story.

    Adena: How about… “Washington: We’re in that other corner of the map.”

    Eve: “WA to yo mutha!” is actually a GREAT slogan! I wonder if anybody in the committee thought of it? I wish I had. I really hate it when somebody else is more clever than I am on my own blog. 🙂

    Dave2: You totally ♥ NY too?? Man, just when I think I can’t love you anymore than I already do… you go and say something awesome like this. You rule Dave2!

  11. Brent says:

    I want whatever that woman in the wine barrel is smoking; that can’t all be wine-induced parading. If they weren’t selling a state but a winery tour, it would have been a very effective magazine advertisement. As it is, it’s not very good.

    I think the entire spelling of a state’s name should be in its slogan…or, at the very least, that should be the starting point. Explore the Wonders of Washington. Hey, I spent 1.8 minutes coming up with that, not 18 months! When you’re given too much time to come up with something, the issue usually becomes much more complex than it really is. If you can sell orange-flavored toothpaste, you can sell Washington state. Out.

  12. jodi says:

    “Come visit Washington; all your friend who used to live in California live here now anyway.”

  13. adena says:

    I like the “Hot Topic” slogan for Washington…I nearly bought the shirt:

    “Washington- WAAAY less murders than Washington D.C.!”

  14. Kevin says:

    Oh that’s just great! Make me an enemy of the state! Uh-huh, twist my words! Must be your forty-year-old eyes misreading what I typed! Yea, that’s it!

  15. Dave2 says:

    Brent: All you need is a half-million dollars, and you could run the tourism ad campaign for Washington!

    Jodi: Oddly enough, many of the friends I have who moved to Washington have since moved back to California. Bet you won’t see THAT on a poster!

    Adena: I’m sure if everybody here pulled together and really worked on it, we could have just as good a murder rate as DC!

    Kevin: So now you’re calling me old?!? You wanna come HERE and say that?!? Seriously… Washington is beautiful in the Spring. You’d love it. 🙂

  16. Missyisms says:

    At least it isn’t the slogan for the state of Illinois. That would be: Say IL (or using the older abbreviations: Say Ill).

  17. Nicole says:

    Yay! New Veronica Mars tonight AND this is the one featuring George-Michael (aka Michael Cera) and Maeby (aka Alia Shawkat) from Arrested Development. I. Cannot. Wait.

    While I would love to visit Washington State, I have to admit “Say WA” would not induce me to do so. A better slogan would be “Washington: the state where Grey’s Anatomy takes place”. I realize it’s kind of long, but I think would be way more effective in the long run.

  18. Deb_LA says:

    Say WA???? Washington has rainforests? What is an extinct waterfall? Nature? What is NATURE?

  19. Brent says:

    Deb: bahahaha. Say AZ

  20. Kevin says:

    Maybe I am! Whacha gonna do it about it? Huh? Bring it on!

    Actually, Katie and I are talking about going to Seattle sometime this summer. Neither of us have ever been there and we’re told (by Sandra) that it’s much nicer in the summer than, say, Boston, which was our other option. Long weekend.

  21. ms. sizzle says:

    even though that slogan is really, really dumb (except, i do so like how you mirrored it to lucy- now THAT works) i still can’t wait to move there.

    SayWA. .. here i come!

  22. Ben says:

    One is entitled to ask, so where the bloody hell are you?

    Now that’s a slogan! 😉

  23. Harold says:

    Dave, I think you missed the whole idea of the new Washington State Ad slogan, “Say–Wa” . Washington State is home to many Indian Tribes and Say-Wa is an Indian saying meaning, “Rich in Beauty” Which also might explain the many Indian Casinos in the Evergreen State.

  24. lizriz says:

    New V Mars is the best news I’ve had all day.


  25. Mooselet says:

    The sound of taste buds dancing??? My taste buds don’t want to drink wine that’s been made from smelly tourists feet. They need to say something else, oh and give back all the money they spent on this campaign.

    I’ve always liked NH – Live Free or DIE!!! I admire a state that mentions death on their license plates.

  26. Mark says:

    Veronica Mars is the shit. I bought the first season on DVD, and I plan to buy the second, when it comes out around August, or whenever. And, dammit, the slogan for Illinois, since I freakin live here is “Land of Lincoln.”

  27. Naomi says:

    Ah–Spokane isn’t all that bad… I actually dig it better than Frisco…

  28. Dave2 says:

    Missyisms: We be ILllin’ in Illinois! 🙂

    Nicole: Sadly, Grey’s Anatomy may be set here, but it isn’t filmed here. I think they did some exteriors in the first episode, but that’s it. You would think that they’d come up for some on-site in order to add more authenticity to the show. Seattle has a lot of landmarks, yet none of the characters are ever there.

    Deb_LA: We only have one rainforest… it’s in the Olympic National Park on the peninsula. Very beautiful place, actually.

    Brent: Say AK! Ack! Ack!

    Kevin: Summer is nice too. A good summer day in Seattle is about as good as it gets.

    Ms. Sizzle: And Washington can’t wait for you to get here! 🙂

    Ben: Only in Australia… that type of language would get you banned here in the USA!! Our higher moral standards and alll… ah ha ha HA HA HAAAHH! Sorry, I couldn’t type that with a straight face!

    Harold: Now that you’ve retired, are you living at the Mill Bay Casino?!? RICH in beauty indeed!

    Liz: No doubt. And this ep we’re getting the evil Troy Vandergraff back!! Bwah ha ha haaa! I wonder how THAT’S going to play out?

    Mooselet: Which is why I will have all the license plates on earth changed to “Bow Before Dave or Die!” once my bid for global domination is complete. 🙂

    Mark: Hopefully season two of Veronica Mars will have some extras this time. I was glad to get the first season on DVD, but the fact that they didn’t give us ANYTHING else was a bit lame.

    Naomi: No, Spokane is not bad at all. I don’t mind the city a bit. I do, however, mind the three hour drive to get here. 🙁

  29. RW says:

    Quite simply, if WA wanted to promote itself it need only allow you to design its T-shirt!

  30. FrancesDanger says:

    Hi Dave, longtime reader, first time commenter.

    Being in the great state of OK (where we are OK) I have always with a fondness remembered what a wise man once said about our slogan.

    “Oklahoma ended up with the slogan ‘Oklahoma is OK’ because they polled the entire state and no one could spell mediocre.”

  31. Belinda says:

    I don’t even have a good comment, but in the spirit of enjoying watching you try so hard to be a good host and answer comments, I feel oddly compelled.

    But seriously–try just walking into that restaurant and saying authoritatively, “I AM DAVID!” and see if you get free food. Could that be where we were going when you left me in the woods and ran off with topless, grouchy Meg Ryan?

  32. timothy says:

    “Say WA” appears more like an add campaign for a modern production of The Miracle Worker.

    I can’t help but associate saying WA with the thought Annie Sullivan pumpin water onto a deaf and blind Hellen Keller.

    “Wa wa.”

  33. katelyn says:

    just wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday.

  34. margalit says:

    Say Wa? Man, that’s sad. As in Say WallaWallaWa? Ugh.

  35. ginuzz says:

    i spent two days in washington. great place, and i didnt even see one apple tree.
    the slogan could have been better.
    but the state sold itself on me without it.

    ‘i’ll be back.’

    hey, there’s a slogan for ya.

  36. sandra says:

    Two things. First, at least it isn’t “WAsssssssap?” (a la beer commercials). And second, my cable went out last night, so I missed Veronica Mars. And am crushed.

  37. Belinda says:

    I’ve tried it out on several people today (the slogan), and you’re right; it doesn’t work. You have to write it down AND say it, and then kinda nudge them and say, “Get it? Like, ‘say what?’ Only it’s the abbrevi–oh, never mind.”

  38. Janet says:

    Unfortunately, Washington could have any number of depressing and unintelligent slogans:


    I am really, very sorry.

  39. Michelle YBF says:


  40. ChillyWilly says:

    Spokane… I actually lived there back in 1983-1984 as a religious fool knocking on doors… back when i didn’t know better.

    Regardless, I really liked the area.

    Of course, go just an hour south of Spokane, and it’s desert. Moses Lake, Tri-Cities…. as you said, WA is has many things to offer.

    As for the Say WA… it bites… pretty bad.

    I would have liked to have seen a string of ads with the WA in it instead of just one saying.

    Don’t WAit… visit WA
    WAnt to see something great? Visit WA
    Free WAter…. in WA

    Ok, those are just off the top of my head on a Friday afternoon when my mind can only think of drinking alcohol in the next hour.

    But you get the idea… they should have added diversity to their campaign.

  41. Eve says:

    Hey, look at all the people who’ve been Saying WA already: SayWA Flickr Group

  42. Eve says:

    Ok, it’s been a month and I’m back at this post again because I had to show you this:

    Action Follows Public Battle Over Maine Tourism Ad Work

    Look out!

  43. DudemanX says:

    “Say WA”…. What were they smoking? Oh well. I’d rather not have Washington become a tourist destination; more tourists means more riff-raff, more developement (more destruction of our natural beauty), higher costs of living, and more people. Just look at what happened to Florida; nice place and all but once people caught on that it was a “tropical paradise” the place went to hell.

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