Keep Austin Weird

Keep Austin Weird

Keep Austin Weird is the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin, Texas. The phrase arose from an offhand remark by Red Wassenich (a librarian at Austin Community College) in a phone call to a local radio station. He and his wife, Karen Pavelka, placed the slogan on bumper stickers, distributing them free to businesses in Austin. cite journal|title=$2.1 million worth of weird|journal=The Daily Texan|date=2006-12-04|first=Abhinav|last=Kumar|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=1|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2007-09-11 ] [cite book |last= Wassenich |first= Red |others= Thresher, C., Illustrator. Pavelka, Karen, Photographer. |title= Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town |year= 2007|month= April|publisher= Schiffer Publishing |location= |language= English |isbn= 0764326392 |pages= 128] The slogan was later trademarked by Outhouse Designs and used to market T-shirts, hats, and mugs. [cite news | first=Alexis | last=Kanter | url= | title=Keep Austin Weird? | work=The Daily Texan | date=September 9, 2004 | accessdate=2006-03-16] cite journal|title=Structures of justice|journal=uuworld|date=2005-08-15|first=Warren R.|last=Ross|coauthors=|volume=XIX|issue=3|pages=1|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2007-09-11 ]

One interpretation of the slogan is as a reference to the many small businesses in Austin which give the city its unique cultural identity.

Austin's message of support for local businesses has inspired similar movements in other cities, including Portland, Oregon; [cite news | url=,E&p_text_date-0=08/26/2006%20to%2008/27/2006)&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no | title=So, how weird are we? | work=The Oregonian | date=August 27, 2006 | accessdate=2006-12-13 | quote=It was the folks down in Austin who came up with the idea of the bumper stickers, not Portlanders --whose weirdness could really stand to be amped up] Tampa, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Santa Cruz, California; Missoula, Montana; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Boulder, Colorado.


"Keep Austin Weird" seemingly promotes an independent, anti-corporate Austin, yet Outhouse Designs trademarked the slogan in 2003 and has used it ever since. Andrew Allemann, host of a satirical "Make Austin Normal" website, asks: "How can you have a commercial slogan that screams anti-corporation?"

Despite this criticism, the Keep Austin Weird campaign has proven successful. In April 2003, Borders bookstore withdrew plans to build a store near local bookstore BookPeople and local music shop Waterloo Records. In an [ article] published by the Daily Texan, Abhinav Kumar writes:

A case study by Civic Economics, a strategic planning consulting firm, found that "local merchants generate substantially greater economic impact than chain retailers." The study revealed that if someone was to spend $100 at a chain like Borders, only $13 would be funneled back into the Austin economy. However, if you spent $100 at a local business such as Waterloo Records, about $45 would go back to fuel the Austin economy.

Additionally, In an Austin Chronicle [ article] Civic Economics also revealed that over a 5-year period, $11 million dollars would have been siphoned off BookPeople and Waterloo Records.


A number of parodies of Keep Austin Weird have arisen in recent years, including t-shirts printed with the phrases "Keep Austin Pretentious", [ [ Men's Heavyweight Cotton T-Shirt ~ Starve the Monster, anarchist clothing, anarchy, anti-government, vote from the rooftops t-shirt, bohemian club t-shirt, bohemian grove t-shirt, libertarian t-shirts, keep austin weird, keep austin pretentious, I ha... ] ] "Keep Dallas Plastic," "Keep Dallas Pretentious," "Keep College Station Normal", "Keep Round Rock Mildly Unusual," "Keep San Antonio Lame," "Keep Lubbock Flat," "Keep Houston Under Construction," "Keep Houston Ugly," "Keep Houston gangsta," "Keep Georgetown Normal," "Keep Orcutt Metal," "Keep Waco Wacko," "Keep Norman Normal," "Keep Tulsa Lame," "Keep Abilene Boring," "Make Austin Normal," Keep Austin Reading" and "Keep Austin corporate".


See also

*Leslie Cochran

External links

* [ Keep Austin Weird]
* [ Make Austin Normal]
* [ Absolutely Austin]

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