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Councilor seeks brand for Kingman September 2, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, Towns.
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City Councilwoman Carole Young wants a distinctive brand to help sell the city of Kingman, Ariz., to tourists, according to the Kingman Daily Miner.

That’s a worthy goal. But here’s where she unwittingly runs off the rails:

Another problem, Young said, is that while Kingman can draw the baby boomer crowd in with its connection to Route 66, that venerable roadway has little pull with children who have grown up knowing nothing but the interstate highway system. Finding a way to draw children as well as adults to Kingman, she said, should be a priority when attempting to brand the city.

“Tourism has always been the key to Kingman’s existence,” she said. “We need to come up with something for the 25- to 40-year-olds and the 16- to 25-year-olds. There’s a gap there. When families drive down the highway and see ‘Route 66,’ the children aren’t going to want to stop.”

As recently as three years ago, I would have agreed with Young on children and their parents not wanting to pull off the superslab upon seeing a Route 66 shield.

But that no longer applies since the release of the hit Disney/Pixar animated film “Cars” to movie screens and DVD.

I’ve had many dozens of parents contact me since “Cars” came out. After seeing the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs in the film, they told me they decided to see the real thing. So the Mother Road has already found a new influx of the younger people that Young seeks.

And with Disneyland Resort committed to building a massive Cars Land amusement park by 2012 and a “Cars” sequel the same year, Route 66’s appeal to children will continue for years to come.

So Kingman should indeed take advantage of its Route 66 connection. But the fast-growing city had better take steps to ensure its quirky, historical attractions will be around for years to come, instead of being obliterated by development.

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