The inescapable “Stronger than the Storm” commercials are about to fade to black.
Yesterday at a press conference in Sea Bright, Governor Chris Christie announced that the catchy ad campaign, promoting Jersey Shore tourism since May and strongly criticized by the public all summer, will end Sunday, The Star-Ledger reports.
“That ringing in your head from hearing it over and over and over again, I guarantee you come December, you’re going to miss them,” Christie commented during the press conference.
Many commenters on Jersey Shore Hurricane News have been critical of the campaign.
“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,” said Mike Sorrentino.
But some like the jingle, including Debbie Giordano, an Ortley Beach homeowner who lost her house.
“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,” she said.
The $25 million ad campaign, funded with federal money, has been a target of state Democratic lawmakers, who have blasted Christie for appearing in the ads with his family, something that some have said is politicizing Superstorm Sandy and simply spurring the governor’s political ambitions.
Earlier this month, an Asbury Park Press investigation found that a politically connected East Rutherford public relations firm and a subcontractor received a $4.7 million campaign contract, which is more than $2 million over what the next bidder planned to charge. The firm, MWW, proposed to include Christie in the ads.
The newspaper’s investigation prompted a response from U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, who called for a federal investigation into how the money was awarded.
Meanwhile, at a press conference in Cape May yesterday, Christie commented that everyone wants this last week of the summer tourism season to be “as strong and as great as it could possibly be” for the businesses that rely on the revenue.
“Stronger than the storm, baby!” he said cheerfully, pointing to someone in the crowd who shouted the slogan as Christie was speaking about seasonal businesses.