I am not certain if your newspaper is aware of the latest effort by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce to brand Lake Norman, since, unless I have missed it, your paper hasn’t covered this proposal.

Nevertheless, the issue is a significant one, and I wanted to be certain as many residents in the region are aware of the possibility.

Frankly, “Lake Norman. The Great Lake” is a preposterous slogan that should have been sunk before it had been floated.

This is the presentation I made to the Town of Cornelius Mayor and Commissioners at their March 21 board meeting:

“The newly proposed logo, “Lake Norman, The Great Lake” with its several consistent messages which include “What a beautiful place to make a buck. What a beautiful place to spend it;” “At Lake Norman, the catch of the day is the day;” “Quality of Life: it’s one of Lake Norman’s biggest lures:” and my personal favorite, “They came, they thawed, they thrived” has the potential, in my opinion, of being the most dunderheaded idea that I have witnessed in my six short years here. When Bill Russell states publicly that “residents don’t see the Lake Norman region in terms of official town boundaries,” I wonder just which residents he has polled and what evidence he has gathered from residents for the factual basis of that statement.

Indeed, I doubt Davidson residents see themselves as part of Cornelius, just as I, as a Cornelius resident, don’t see myself as part of Davidson, or Huntersville, or Mooresville, or especially Denver, since I am from the real Denver, the one in Colorado.

I urge you to reject totally the notion that a lake one can see across, a lake that is actually a reservoir and man-made at that, a lake that has existed only since the 1960s, is a Great Lake. As a town and a region, we will be the laughingstock of the people who have lived near the real Great Lakes or even the Great Salt Lake. Perhaps we should call it Fake Lake or Dammed Lake, since it was a couple of dams that created it – but I wouldn’t go so far as to use that for our marketing.

The reality is Lake Norman is our brand, not “the Great Lake.” Further, check the demographics; not all the persons who have moved here came to thaw, since they have come from California and Florida, not just upstate New York.

I urge our town commissioners to recognize this pathetic attempt at branding to be the amateur effort it is, and to reject it out of hand. I also think it’s high time we brand our town and require that we see what benefit we get from the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. I would rather see developed a Cornelius Chamber, a Cornelius Visitors Bureau, and a Cornelius Economic Development effort than this claptrap that is the latest salvo that is just another sad example of how poor the thinking is in the existing so-called regional organizations that developed this. What next, ‘Cornelius, the town named for a character from Planet of the Apes?’”

So far, the word I have received back is that Bill Russell thinks my comments are amusing and that I should appear at comedy clubs. But while my presentation may have had comic elements, the comedy came from the absurd branding of Lake Norman as “The Great Lake.”

I would hope that every rational citizen in the Lake Norman region, and especially members of the Lake Norman Chamber, very carefully consider the consequences of a slogan, which will not be taken seriously.

Bill Russell, are you listening? Or have you already renamed your organization “The Great Lake Chamber of Commerce”?

Not since “New Coke” has there been launched such a monumentally bad and untested idea. Shame on the business leaders here if they don’t put an early demise to this branding, and shame on all the towns in the region if they don’t squash this “all hat, no cattle” brand.

– Gary Knight, Cornelius