View Full Version : New Jersey's Image: Introduction

09-05-2004, 09:17 PM
9/3/04 - New Jersey's Image: Introduction (http://www.aboutnewjersey.com/editorials/newJerseyImage.php)

The idea behind AboutNewJersey.com has always been to improve New Jersey’s image in the world as well as among fellow New Jerseyans, and to show people the many things there are to do in this great state. However, the amusement parks, the museums, the beaches, state parks, sporting events, etc are only one part of the puzzle to how New Jerseyans and others perceive the state; what is important is how New Jersey presents these things to the outside world. In this regard there is a lot of work to be done. For instance – Washington spent over half of the Revolutionary War in New Jersey; yet how many people think of New Jersey when they think of the Revolution?

New Jersey has more Revolutionary battlefields than any other state in the nation and there are more houses in New Jersey where Washington has slept than any other state. Without the battles of Trenton and Princeton there would be no United States of America today. If people are interested in the Revolutionary War there is no better state to visit than New Jersey, yet New Jersey has not promoted it. New Jersey hardly supports its historic treasures period, whether it’s a recreated Swedish colonial settlement in southern New Jersey, Princeton Battlefield in Central New Jersey or Edison’s Laboratory in Northern New Jersey. We do not use these things to promote an identity. Actually – New Jersey hardly actively promotes ANY identity. It is time for this to change.

Currently, when you ask someone “What comes to mind when they think of New Jersey?” more often than not it seems to be something negative. The sad thing is – that most of the time, the negative thing isn’t even true or it’s strongly exaggerated. They have generally picked it up from some late night comedian, a TV show or a movie or – and I love this one – “It’s just something everyone knows”. It’s like the one time where Jay Leno showed a picture of Miss America dipping her toe in the water at Atlantic City and they doctored the photo to show all this garbage washing up around her. It doesn’t matter that New Jersey’s water is cleaner than California’s or that we have the toughest water standards in the country, all that matters is how people view it and whether they BELIEVE it. The truth doesn’t matter – it’s the image.

So the question is – how do we overcome this negative image when late night comedians reinforce the erroneous stereotypes so much? It’s going to be a long struggle, but hopefully my articles will layout some ideas and get people to start thinking. I do know this much though - it’s going to first take a change in New Jersey’s attitude about itself and my general feeling is that it boils down to marketing and presentation – and New Jersey does not do that.

We have no or VERY VERY few New Jersey welcome signs announcing when people have entered our state, we have no central landmark that represents New Jersey and I think the main problem is that New Jerseyans suffer from an inferiority complex because on one side of us we have New York and on the other side we have Philadelphia. As a prime example of our inferiority complex – do you think we sell our own merchandise and souvenirs at our rest stops along the New Jersey Turnpike? NO, of course not! Other states sell their own merchandise, but not New Jersey. Instead New Jersey sells NY souvenirs. It’s the same at our most visited state park – Liberty State Park in Jersey City, where the Liberty Science Center is located and people from all over the world take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can’t even get a New Jersey postcard there. I have been to forty states, lived in six and I have NEVER seen any other state predominantly sell the souvenirs of another state. My complaint with the situation with souvenirs, welcome signs, late night comedians, and more will all be covered in various articles. I do know one thing though, to change the image outsiders have, we must first change the way we feel about ourselves and the place we live - New Jersey. There is a wave of pride in New Jerseyans that is building up - now it's time to create a tidal wave that sweeps over the whole state from the south to the north.

When a person thinks of other states or cities, they think of their landmarks. Symbols that just by a look, conjure of the place in question. New York State has Niagara Falls; with New York City people think of the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty, never mind that the Statue of Liberty is in New Jersey waters and only a couple of feet from our shore or that it is New Jersey who supplies it it’s electricity and water, it’s all about marketing and perception. New York covers their literature and banners in pictures of the Statue of Liberty. When people think of Indiana – they think of the Indy 500, with Nashville – the Grand Old Opry, Philadelphia - Independence Hall or the Liberty Bell, California evokes thoughts of Hollywood, beaches and the Golden Gate Bridge. What does mentioning New Jersey bring to mind? What is the symbol of New Jersey? What is the one thing that represents OUR state to the world and when people see it they think – “New Jersey”? I’ll let you think on that. If you have any ideas please let me know because in all my thoughts the only thing I can think of is Atlantic City. Then again though, since so many people are surprised when I tell them that Atlantic City is in New Jersey I don’t see how it can be properly considered – this is completely contrary to people’s association of Las Vegas with Nevada. New Jersey NEEDS to develop a central landmark that is recognized around the world and ties the state together.

The thing that I guess is the most frustrating in all this is that we SHOULD be proud of ourselves, we should be the envy of the country and we should be one of the states that is respected around the world. New Jersey has the highest per capita income in the country, we have some of the best schools in the country, our towns are routinely listed in the top places to live, we are one of the top 10 states to raise a child, we have great museums, theaters, parks, beaches, history and attractions – so why do people have such a negative image of New Jersey? Perception. It’s what they have come to expect and it is very difficult, without a lot of hard work, to change people’s preconceived notions. New Jersey needs to start doing this work and hopefully this article will be the beginning of changing people's perception of this great state.


I have had an idea of writing an editorial on New Jersey’s image for a while now. After starting to write it - I realized that there is just too much ground to cover and there are different aspects that affect New Jersey’s image. I have therefore decided it would probably be best to cover it in a multi-part article. I am unsure about how many articles this will entail and I’m not sure how often a new article will come out, but I think this will be the best way to approach this subject. If anyone would like to contribute an article, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My initial goal is to try to write an article once a week.

09-23-2004, 10:38 AM
Two things come to mind when I think of an image for NJ.

The Garden State (http://www.nj.gov/njfacts/garden.htm)

Atlantic City (http://www.atlanticcitynj.com/)

At least from a national perspective. I think the The Garden State (http://www.nj.gov/njfacts/garden.htm) is more appropriate than Atlantic City (since the former better represents the state as a whole)

Other Images that come to mind. (In no particular order)

The Jersey Shore

Cape May


Delaware Water Gap

The excellent road network (GSP, NJTP, and other major road ways)

I think I would be a good Idea for NJ to take a more active role in promoting NJ. (or at the least not promote neighboring states [ie PHL, NYC])

The "NJ & You Perfect Together" slogan from a few years back is a good way to promote the state

sidenote: IIRC, NJ was called the "Crossroads of the American Revolution (http://www.heritagetrail.org/crossroads.html)". I think this was because the American and British troops traversed the state so many times during the revolutionary war.

03-08-2006, 06:20 AM
Hi Anthony, I think we are promoting New Jersey pride on this website. However it is true that this piece of heaven is not really known as well as it should be. Here in Central California it may as well be a foreign country but there are a few I have come across who have been there. People do envy me for being able to visit there. Ofcourse there are more people then we realize that are afraid to take 3 airplanes to get there. lol. I consider it an adventure myself. lol. I have noticed that postcards are hard to find although I know where to find them now. Alot of what I have found and learned I learned online so you are right, that we need our own stores and Jersey things. Also welcoming signs for New Jersey. I did not see any either. Marianita

03-08-2006, 10:01 PM
In the last year or two the state has put up more welcome to N.J. signs . I tend to see them alot more when ever I come back to N.J. The more up the better it will give us a sense of idenity . Things in this state as far as pride goes is slowly getting better . Speaking of idenity good old N.J. is the fifth most liveable state in the country .Last year we were number eight. It was in the news today . New York is #32 down from 30 . PA. is # 30 . This is on the heels that we in N.J. are #1 in saving money . New York was # 37 . Seems like this greatness we all hear about New York is nothing but hot air . Maybe the citizens of N.J. should teach our politicians how to save . Look at the high rankings we get with lousy leadership in Trenton , just think how high they would be with good leaders down there . And I was recently at a turnpike reststop and they are selling N.J. hats , shirts etc .:D

03-09-2006, 02:14 AM
Hi New Jersey pride, That is all really good. So things are getting better. I hope to see the signs when I go back there and hopefully things will shape up in Trenton. Good leadership is a plus for the state. I am glad to hear of the tee shirts being sold and the hats. That is one thing I had trouble finding. I got my tee shirt at ''The Cracker Barrel'' in Mt.Laural. Cape May also had some nice things. I think NJ is a very livable state. Being surrounded by beauty everywhere and things so well kept should appeal to anyone. I can see by the ratings that we are not in competition with NY but there is a world of difference anyway. My son took to New Jersey life fast after having spent his whole life in Southern California. It is as if he always lived in NJ and it is amazing to adjust to a place so different and so quickly. It just goes to show the effect New Jersey can have on a person. I am enchanted myself. Take care. Marianita:)