Brooklyn is not only the name of a popular (and creative and hipsterish) borough of the city of New York, it’s also become a hot brand being used around the world. In the New York Times’ T Magazine article, “Brooklyn: The Brand” we learned that the most recent country to become obsessed with anything branded Brooklyn is Sweden. Restaurants around the world are using the name, including Brooklyn Pizza in Istanbul and Brooklyn Parlor bar and café in Tokyo. Even Parisians have adopted the phrase “très Brooklyn” to describe cool, creative things, like the food trucks now populating the Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood.
In addition to its worldwide popularity, the city itself is undergoing a rejuvenation, particularly the area known as Downtown Brooklyn, which is the home of the new Barclays Center and basketball’s Brooklyn Nets. In fact, Brooklyn is now growing faster than Manhattan. Brooklyn’s transition from “tough” to “cool” has been a boon to tourism, real estate, and obviously, branding.
That may have something to do with the fact that the borough that used to be known as Barbra Streisand’s birthplace skews younger these days. Now it’s more closely associated with rapper/producer Jay-Z (a/k/a Shawn Carter) than Streisand. It’s played a starring role in several movies, including Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’ and ‘She’s Gotta Have It.’ And Brooklyn has even become a popular baby name — just ask Victoria and David Beckham about their oldest son. This year, Brooklyn is ranked #27 in the list of most popular baby girl names in the United States.
Many cities promote their brand with a slogan or tagline, but finding a slogan to promote Brooklyn, the borough, turned out to be a challenge. Borough President Marty Markowitz held a contest several years ago to find one and a decision couldn’t be made on just one, so a few were adopted, including “Not Just a Borough, An Experience” and “Brooklyn: Bridge to the World.” A few more are used on “Welcome to Brooklyn” signs displayed on borough bridges and highways, including “Fuhgeddaboudit” and “Brooklyn’s in the House.”
What other cities have you seen being used as brands and how? We’ll keep our eyes open while we enjoy a little ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn,’ courtesy of The Beastie Boys.