Saturday, October 25, 2008

Do You Know Where Your Slogan Is? - New York Times:

Another example is “If you see something, say something,” which is the theme of a security campaign introduced in 2002 for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

An online search yesterday for the phrase found 45,500 results on Google, 26,900 on Yahoo and 6,046 on They ranged from creative writing inspired by the slogan ( to a short comic film that uses the theme as its title (

“We wanted something that was punchy and catchy enough to not fade in the background,” said Christopher P. Boylan, a deputy executive director at the M.T.A., “and makes a connection with every one of our passengers.”

At the same time, said Allen Kay, chairman and chief executive at Korey Kay, “there was concern there could be backlash, concern we were using fear tactics,” so consumer research was used to determine perceptions of the theme.

The responses, Mr. Kay said, were along these lines: “People understood that officials could not be everywhere, so the M.T.A. was asking them to participate in each other’s safety.”

Still, there is some resistance to the slogan and its infiltration of the vernacular.

For instance, artists in Sydney, Australia, recently took part in an exhibit that questioned the campaign, which they labeled “a government-sponsored vision of the world” that asks people “to view those around us with fear and suspicion”