Greeley’s New Brand: Definitely… Unexpected

The state of Colorado isn’t the only place that’s getting a new brand. Greeley, located just East of Loveland and home to the University of Northern Colorado, has decided it needs an image makeover, too.

Greeley Unexpected

A Greeley: Unexpected billboard on Hwy 34 in Weld County

A Greeley: Unexpected billboard on Hwy 34 in Weld County
Credit Nathan Heffel / KUNC

In an attempt to step away from old stereotypes surrounding the agricultural industry of the city, including the smell of the nearby processing plant, Greeley’s new campaign focuses on the people, events, and exciting culture that the town has to offer. This is summed up in the name of the campaign: “Greeley Unexpected”.

Right off the bat, the site’s “About” page asks: “Are you tired of outdated Greeley stereotypes and misperceptions?” From there, we’re given a long list of the amazing things about Greeley, including a sheet of “unexpected” facts. You can check out local artists and read about upcoming events – all things that make Greeley more than a small town.

On the one hand, it’s great to confront your pain points directly. The creatives behind the campaign were definitely aware of the problem, and are doing everything they can to fix it. Still, we might have done things a little differently.

A Focus on the Negative

The first thing we noticed is that the word “unexpected” doesn’t always have positive connotations. The campaign uses it to describe the fun and interesting people found around the town, from a couple who make monster makeup to a local artist. These people are certainly an unexpected feature. However, “Unexpected” could also refer to an odor that you weren’t expecting, or an unpleasant experience. Overall, the adjective is fairly neutral, and relies heavily on the rest of the brand to obtain meaning.

The copy on the site directly addresses the negative stereotypes associated with the city. On the “Unexpected” page, we see a series of headlines focusing on common misconceptions, followed by a rebuttal. The idea is headed in the right direction, but the casual scroller isn’t going to see any of those positive facts. Before we read through the site, we didn’t even know about the feedlots or limited shopping areas that the city absolutely, definitely doesn’t have anymore.

What We Might Have Done

We would have approached this campaign from a more positive angle. Since smell is such a powerful sense, it could be interesting to focus on some of the positive experiences you can have in Greeley. The farmer’s markets could be branded as “the taste of fresh produce”. The Greeley Philharmonic could become “The sound of classical”.

By attaching a sensation to each new experience of Greeley, you can acknowledge previous misconceptions and move past them. If we had to pick an adjective, we wouldn’t have gone with “Unexpected”. Instead, we would have suggested “Greeley Experienced.”

What do you think of the new Greeley campaign? Is “unexpected” the way to go? Let us know in the comments!


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