San Antonio Street
Do you think the Downtown Management District appreciates the irony of their new tagline “Authentico”?

Auténtico would have been more authentic. Did they think that people wouldn’t understand Auténtico?

From the Times:

It’s a Spanglish word DMD officials created for the campaign.

It sums up Downtown El Paso’s identity, which is far different from often-sterile shopping malls and other business venues in El Paso and in other parts of the country, he said.

“We want to be true to ourselves. We are a binational Downtown, a bicultural Downtown. So, the blending of an English word and a Spanish word reflects that,” said [El Paso Downtown Management District Executive Director Joe] Gundenrath, who two years ago left his job as director of the Omaha (Neb.) Downtown Improvement District Association to move to El Paso.

Well, hear hear. Bravo. How did we accidentally hire someone who gets it, that El Paso is a zebra in a country full of horses?

Of course, only a dyed in the wool cracker would opt for that Spanglish blend. But the rest of what he says is so refreshingly enlightened I’m going to forgive him.

The campaign’s targeting millenials and young professionals, . . . baby boomers, and shoppers from Mexico because those are groups with people already going Downtown, Gundenrath said.

[DMD Marketing and Communications Manager Rudy] Vasquez said changing poor perceptions of Downtown can’t be done with a “buckshot to the entire city or region.”

“We are leveraging people who already are championing Downtown,” and growing from that, he said.

That’s good. The people most likely to buy your product are people who have bought it before. If you want to leverage your market, you focus on your existing customers, and try to increase sales at the inside margin.

I don’t know how these people slipped through the filters the local bureaucracies have set up to keep out good ideas, but it’s good for El Paso that they’re here.


  1. Let’s hope that you, and he, are right. My problem, speaking as a baby boomer, is that I still remember how often we used to go back and forth across the border (those of us who lived on this side, to pass the time and shop in Juarez, and those lived over there to come and do the same over here), and I wonder what is going to be done to make it worthwhile for them to come over here? I mean, what is being done to ease the congestion of a border crossing and to get agents of CBP to treat people more humanely?

    1. International trade is hard enough without cowboy customs agents going all John Wayne on border crossers. The peso is getting pummeled by a strong dollar and low oil prices. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with the agents at the bridge, but you hear those horror stories and wonder why there’s no accountability.

      But the DMD is pretty much powerless to rein them in. They have to deal all those vagaries of international trade, like the weak peso and the border security apparatus, and there’s only so much they can do.

      One thing they can do is develop a strong brand identity. And it looks like they’re headed in the right direction. Mr. Gundenrath has already been here two years, according to the story in the Times. How long till someone with less of an understanding of branding and marketing runs him off?

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