LEWISTON — Apparently, it's happening in Sparks, Nev., right now.
It's also happening in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, at the University of Louisville in Kentucky and in seven counties in southern Idaho.
It was happening in Bethlehem, Pa., too, until about seven years ago.
Calvin Rinck, marketing director for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, has been tracking the spread of L-A's signature slogan, "It's Happening Here."
"They have a nice website and a nice look," Rinck said. "They're doing a good job with it."
In Bethlehem, Pa., it was used as the title of a video that marketed the area to high-tech entrepreneurs and creative-economy types.
Bekah Rusnock, enterprise zone coordinator for the city of Bethlehem, said the slogan had been in use since before 2005, when she worked for a local newspaper. She now works for the city, and all that remains of the campaign is the video.
That targeted market has not changed, however. Bethlehem is still looking for new businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals — but without a slogan.
"What we've found is slogans tend to be somewhat generic, like 'It's Happening Here' or 'Live, Work, Play' or 'Do It Here,'" she said. "There is nothing wrong with them, but what we did was find out what we wanted and we built our marketing around what we wanted to come here."
The slogan is still going strong in southern Idaho, where it's used by the local tourism bureau.
"It speaks to the variety of opportunities we have here," said Kellie Traughber, chairwoman of Southern Idaho Tourism's board of directors. "Our recreation opportunities are No. 1, but we also have a lot of cultural opportunities."
The tourism bureau mostly uses "It's Happening Here" as a tagline for its calendar of events. The bureau represents seven counties and is known for agriculture and outdoor recreation, according to Debbie Dane, the group's executive director.
"There are so many events that happen in our different communities," Dane said. "This was a way to provide information about the really big ones. On any given week, we have many little festivals over seven counties and fun runs and all sorts of things happening. That's how we've used it."
Rinck said he's aware of several other instances. It's been used by the city of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, to promote conservation, by Kentucky's University of Louisville and by Enterprise Ireland in an effort to lure computer and IT professionals to that country.
In Lewiston-Auburn, the campaign was part of an effort to spread the word around Maine about events and programs in the Twin Cities and to buff Lewiston-Auburn's image at home and around the state.
"It certainly has been effective, for us," Rinck said. "It truly brought L-A into the upper echelons in the state. You couldn't turn on the TV, get in the car or open a newspaper without seeing something positive about L-A. But all brands age and brand messages go through an evolution. That's why we're evaluating if it's the message that we should be projecting forward."
Committee members say it brought the community more than $1 million in publicity.
"It worked, because it's true," Rinck said. "Look at all the investment that was going on in the community when it started: the Southern Gateway and the Franco Center. The slogan worked because it was true, because it resonated with the community and because it reflected what was going on."
But it might be time to move on.
"It's still happening here," Rinck said. "We have the Riverfront Island work coming. We have new ice rinks being built and an influx of new restaurants. It's happening more than ever. It's just a question of what message we want to project."
A regional branding committee, part of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce and the growth council, completed a survey of residents this past summer to gauge their views about Lewiston and Auburn. It's the first step in a long process of marketing the Twin Cities.
"The community could decide the phrase, the slogan, 'It's Happening Here,' still works, but the materials need to be updated," Rinck said. "Maybe the community will decide we need a new slogan and a new brand. That's part of the public process."
Rinck and members of the branding committee presented their survey to Auburn City Councilors last week. They're scheduled to discuss it with Lewiston City Councilors on Tuesday. Rinck said the group is hoping for support from the cities before they begin working on a new campaign.
The more common use of "It's Happening Here" could be one reason to move on, he said. "We know other people are using it. We have Google alerts set up to advise us any time the phrase gets used."