Sunday, August 2, 2015

New Jersey's latest brand

Drugs as 'bath salt' and Xanadu as "American Dream"

New Jersey's latest brand

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If a mind-blowing drug can be branded as “bath salt” (whatever that is), then I suppose the architecturally psychedelic “Xanadu” – aka North Jersey’s notorious shopping flop -- can be re-branded as “American Dream Meadowlands.”

N.J. Attorney General Paula Dow announced Thursday that retailers will soon face prosecution for selling “White Lady Bath Salt” and other packets of hallucinogenic chemicals, which people have smoked, snorted and even injected. The ban takes effect May 7.

That’s certainly good news.

Less certain: The “what’s in a name” plan to save the would-be retail/entertainment mecca of “Xanadu.”

The parent company of Mall of America -- there’s a magisterial moniker – is preparing to take over the stalled mega-project.

You may have noticed the garish pile that is “Xanadu” (think Lady Gaga, wearing Legos) just off the New Jersey Turnpike in Bergen County.

Given the inherent, if likely unintentional, campiness of a name forever associated with one of Olivia Newton-John’s celebrated feats of pop-culture kitschiness, “Xanadu” surely must go.

But “American Dream Meadowlands” manages to sound simultaneously grandiose and generic.

It’s not a mash-up, it’s a mish-mash. It’s mush.

Although it’s better than “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America” -- a title bestowed by none other than Gov. Christie.

A man who knows a thing or two about branding.

Inquirer Columnist
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Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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