Bumper stickers give way to hybrids
Once upon a time, nearly 30 years ago, a League to Save Lake Tahoe board member had a brain flash.
Said the person whose name no one seems to remember, “Why not slap our slogan ‘Keep Tahoe Blue’ on a bumper sticker?”
The League had already been using the slogan since the nonprofit group’s inception in 1957, but printing it on a sticker turned into a lasting and incredibly popular marketing coup.
Over the years, the sticker has taken on a life of its own. Mutilated, altered, mocked and loved, some say it has become a true symbol of the Tahoe spirit.
“Obviously we like some of the versions more than others. We think it shows a strong community spirit very unique to Tahoe,” said League communications director Heidi Hill Drum. “Regardless of using our stickers to express their own views, we hope people are finding out more about the League before cutting them up.”
One organization in town, the Lake Tahoe Humane Society, actually called the League to get permission before altering the sticker, Hill Drum said.
“When I called to clear our ‘Keep Tahoe Kind’ sticker with them, they said they were very appreciative because they heard rumors about all kinds of weird variations,” said Humane Society executive director Dawn Armstrong. “They told us there was no problem. In fact they liked our idea.”
Armstrong said the kindness stickers, two years old and already very popular, summarize the Humane Society’s basic mission statement. Donators to the Humane Society thrift store get the stickers free, otherwise they cost 25 cents each.
“My vision is that you drive down the highway and see ‘Keep Tahoe Blue’ on one side of the bumper of the car in front of you, and ‘Keep Tahoe Kind’ on the other side,” Armstrong said.
The original League sticker, which is still free although a donation is preferred, is in such high demand, said Hill Drum, the League is ordering 10,000 to 12,000 copies monthly. Stacks of League stickers are distributed to north and south shore businesses, and requests arrive daily by mail and Internet for extra copies.
“People have told me they have seen the stickers as far away from Tahoe as Wisconsin. We’ve even had a League member move to China and request one before he left,” Hill Drum said. “I know people in Germany and France who have them on their cars, too.”
Comedian Carrot Top, aka Scott Thompson, who played Caesars Tahoe several times over the past five years, proudly displays a ‘Keep Tahoe Blue’ sticker on his car back home in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
“I love Tahoe, and I’ve had the sticker on my bumper for a while. But you have to remember that I live in Florida and people look at the sticker as I drive by and go, ‘What the hell?'” he said. “But it’s a worthy sentiment. It’s the most beautiful lake in the world, and really worth saving.”
Although some of the more irreverent versions spotted around town are obviously cut-and-paste jobs, other versions of the sticker are produced in large quantities as marketing tools for businesses such as Sacred Heart Tattoo, or just plain old-fashioned protests, for example against the two-stroke Jet Ski ban.
BREAKOUT: Bumper buzzwords
n Elvis Lives in Tahoe
n Tahoe needs Jesus
n Keep Tahoe 2-Stroke
n Keep Tahoe Aliens
n Aliens Are Real
n Keep Tahoe Washoe
n Keep Tahoe Kind
n Keep Tahoe Green
n Tahoe Tips A lot
n Keep Tattoo Sacred
n Pee at Home
n Keep TRPA out
n Tahoe Rich People Association
n League to Starve Lake Tahoe
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