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Tuesday, December 8, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Renton Selects A Marketing Slogan -- `Ahead Of The Curve' Is The Theme

Seattle Times Eastside Bureau

RENTON

First, there was Nike, inciting us to "Just do it."

Then, the dairy industry delighted us with the pithy, gently scolding, "Got milk?"

Now, creative minds working for the city of Renton have come up with what they hope will be the next great slogan, the magic words that will make Renton-lovers of us all:

"Renton. Ahead of the curve."

Starting in January, those five words - the heart of a three-year, $600,000 marketing blitz - could be seen anywhere from on its buses to Sunset magazine pages to council chambers at City Hall.

Marketers from Hamilton/Saunderson of Seattle unveiled the phrase in council chambers last night amid much fanfare, opening the evening with Kool & the Gang's "Celebrate" and ending with a cake emblazoned with - what else - the new slogan for the city at the southern tip of Lake Washington.

The phrase and its logo - a simple font with a bold stripe running through the slogan - was chosen over several other options, such as "Where the river meets the road" and "It's real. It's Renton."

Marketers wanted something versatile, something that would speak to Renton's assets and character, now and in the future. "This has a long shelf life," said Michael Hamilton of Hamilton/Saunderson. Renton "will always be ahead of the curve."

The choice was greeted with applause and murmurs of appreciation, but presenters had a soft sell: Many in the crowd were city staff members, educators and business people, all participants or likely participants in the campaign, which will be principally funded by the city.

It may be harder to endear Renton and its new brand to people in the greater Puget Sound area, who tend to know the city of 46,000 as a Boeing hub and perpetual punch line of television's "Almost Live," a place with a tired downtown and dreadful traffic on the Interstate 405 "S-curves."

But Renton "has a successful story," Hamilton said. And now, perhaps, the words to tell it.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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