At this week’s “Ready for Next Time? Rethinking the Shore After Sandy?” forum in Cape May County, attendees discussed a variety of issues related to the superstorm, Newsworks’ Amy Z. Quinn reported.
Of note, according to Quinn’s report, is what she dubs the “yuck factor,” i.e. the state’s $25 million dollar “Stronger than the Storm” (#stts) ad campaign, which several attendees said has spurred disaster tourism and created a false sense of dominance over Mother Nature.
On Jersey Shore Hurricane News (JSHN), I posted an image of a scrap of legal paper hanging on the event’s “Wailing Wall,” upon which attendees shared their unfiltered thoughts about the Sandy experience.
Just nine words — “The PR phrase ‘Stronger than the Storm’ is insulting” — generated an explosive response on JSHN, with 130 comments ranging from abject disgust to blissful satisfaction with the ad campaign.
To say the least, based on the responses, #stts, blasted on television and radio stations with the unmistakable “ooooo ooo ooo whoaaahh whhoaah” refrain, is polarizing.
Here’s what impassioned JSHN commenters had to say (unedited):
Stephen Harris: “confused why is this a bad message? I know some people are hurting BUT without any tourism.. the hurt will be so much worse… overall… we were stronger than the storm.”
Karen Nisivoccia-Campbell: “Tourism is how things will be renewed and rebuilt. I live here I see it. My family was fortunate but so many were not. Tourism creates jobs and revenue.”
Lisa DeCarlo Kerr: “I may be in the minority but I like that little jingle.”
Joyce Maxwell: “We are stronger than the storm, because the storm tried to destroy us, but we are still here and will ALWAYS be here.”
Kristine Previti Romano: “I take that as a slogan of resilience… not as being pompous that we are better than mother nature…”
Jackie Logerfo: “What’s the big deal with a slogan? Would think after what the state went through, there are far more important things to worry about. If the slogan helps spread awareness that the people of the devastated towns came together to help one another and that the beaches are slowly but surely being restored… will that not send people to those areas to spend money? That money helps the community and the small business owners in that area rebuild and recover. Sheesh. Some people don’t have anything better to not pick at. Saying that the song “stronger than the storm” is insulting, is very insulting…”
Debbie Giordano: “This Ortley homeowner loves the feeling of solidarity the song depicts. Our house was destroyed and we are rebuilding. When we were first allowed back on the island, some owners had painted phrases on what was left of their homes that were inspirational as well. Driving to our home that first time was painful to say the least. These little signs of strength were the only uplifting things there.”
Bonnie Funabashi O’Keeffe: “The campaign is necessary to build a positive image of the shore. Without it, the impression would be that everything got wiped out and it’s not worth the trip to vacation there this summer. Although shore communities still have a long way to go, much has been rebuilt and it still remains a great vacation destination. Tourism dollars are CRITICAL to survival – especially this year. I applaud the campaign. Are we stronger? You bet! Our strength is in our determination and solidarity!”
Can’t stand it
Paul McMillan: “Stts just as bad as yolo and swag. Such a stupid saying. The shore wasn’t stronger than anything the day it occurred and clearly once it was over reconstruction was bound to happen. So what exactly is stronger than the storm? FEMA?”
Lesley Knight: “I think many of the people who lost everything do find it insulting.”
John Sotelo Jr.: “‘Jersey Strong, Rebuilding Better Than Before’ would be MUCH better than ‘Stronger Than The Storm’. I cant stand the commercials, the jingle, none of it.”
Andy Drebych: “I cant stand that moronic jingle”
Mike Sorrentino: “Tell all the people selling their houses at a loss in my neighborhood that we’re stronger than the storm or that the shore is restored. I’ll be sure to hum that little jingle as I move into my apartment since I can’t afford to restore my house.”
Sari Perlstein: “It’s insulting to all those not back in their homes or who’s businesses are far from on track. After 24 years in business on the boardwalk people are like followers in a political marching army, asking for stronger then the storm tees….. When told we do not have them, they do not even look around. They walk out.”
Lyn Waterson Kaminski: “I turn off the tv or radio as soon as this commercial starts.”
Erin Tierney Bernstein: “The reason so many people(including myself) are angry is that those commercials/ads imply that everything is fine, repaired and fixed. Nothing could be further from the truth. After you enjoy the boardwalk and beach take a walk or drive a block or two inland. Look at all the homes are still not repaired. Most of those homes were owned by people and families just like yours(and don’t give me the BS that they are all the rich people) Imagine how they feel. It sucks not being able to live in “your home” for 9 months. When I tell people they don’t understand how my home isn’t fixed and I’m not home yet. They think from the crap they see on TV that it’s all ok.”
James Pagdon: “all of the people who now know they wont get help from the storm, and will lose their homes, know that we are not stronger than the storm, only the businesses are stronger, and they will get the help, they will buy the homes and land and rebuild and sell them over and over to others who will see their new little dream homes by the ocean taken by the storm and ignored by their leaders. we are not stronger than the storm now, and we wont ever be stronger. but we can be smarter if we cared to be.and we couldve spent less on songs and more on cries for help.”
Jane Marks Biunno: “I agree totally that the slogan Stronger Than The Storm is crazy. This past Sun. at 7:00 p I drove from Seaside Heights to Manoloking. Rt. 35 No. & So. were virtually empty ACCEPT for Point Pleasant where there were people, traffic, rides~Boardwalk open. The houses still standing are 95% dark-uninhabitable along both sides of 35. It’s a JOKE. It will take MANY yrs. to ever recover from Sandy.”
Greg Kliemisch: “I HATE this PR phrase. How bout next time everyone stay in your homes and let’s see who wins. Sad thing is I won’t be able to collect the money from winning since I’ll be washed away.”
Sharon Tinucci: “Tired of the jingle….actually, it annoys the hell out of me! The boards are open and it gives visitors a false sense of recovery! We are still gutted in Seaside Park (on the bay side) with no end in site!!!!!!! We are not stronger than the storm….our governor is the only one that has benefited from the storm because this jingle has raised his national profile…don’t be fooled people!!!”
Max Zeygelshefer: “I’ve been saying that Stronger than the Storm is insulting since the first time i saw it. We AREN’T stronger, it kicked our asses royally. We have a strong spirit, and we will rebuild, but let’s not taunt mother nature.”
Mary Leith: “I think the jingle and commercials are more meant to further a certain individual’s political career. Why else would he make sure him and his whole family were in it instead of showing REAL people?”
Darryl DuPont: “Thinly disguised campaign to include Christie. Not sure the need to run these spots on Sinclair stations in Iowa. Not a lot of vacationers there but a lot of primary voters”
Neil Vitale: “all politicians care about is revenue. get the few people with businesses open and suddenly, we should be thanking and praising them. Soooo many empty houses sitting on our block this summer. no work done at all. and most perfectly in tact. they don’t even have the insurance money yet to do simple demo work. Sigh. great country we live in, right? sad part is, no matter WHO you vote in next time, it’s the same old broken record and nothing ever changes. gotta be a way to fix that…”
Don Prete: “Who cares?”