Soy de Burque Headline Animator

Friday, February 8, 2008

Featured in New Mexico Business Outlook

Albuquerque Journal, N.M., Everybody's Business column: All riled up over that Q

(Albuquerque Journal (NM) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Aug. 23--Leave it to Mayor Marty to get Albuquerque all riled up over a letter.

No, not a document from someone to someone. Just a single member of the alphabet. The Q.

Since March, when ad agency Rick Johnson & Co. announced with the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau the Q as the proposed "omnibrand" for the city, the O with a tail has taken a yanking from some of the city's most vocal residents -- bloggers and Alibi readers.

In articles and blog posts, the Q brand has been called "generic," "annoying," "superficial" and "robotic," mostly by backers of an anonymous resistance group hyping the phrase "Soy de Burque!" or "I am from Burque." That's not to say all of the comments are negative, -- one blogger says the Q has "'memorable' potential" -- but the overall tone from this albeit small segment of the community is that the Q is a corporate attempt to label the city as something it's not.

The idea behind the branding was to capitalize on Albuquerque's distinctive spelling -- two Qs -- and the letter's contemporary style. "It's not just a logo or an ad campaign," said Debbie Johnson, CEO of RJC, during the Q's spring coming-out event. "This would be the graphic focal point of the branding."

The last, and possibly only, time the Q got this much attention from the press was 2005, when the often overlooked letter (even the college dictionary gives it only 8{ pages) found itself at the center of a trademark infringement lawsuit between automakers Nissan and Audi. Nissan claimed exclusive right to the Q after years of use on its Infinitis when Audi decided the letter would add flair as a prefix on its new SUV line. (The case was settled out of court.)

It's exactly this type of legal battle that the city is trying to avoid, why the mayor et al. have appeared rather quiet on the subject since the announcement. It's not that the Burquenos have gotten to the administration. Rather, the city lawyers have been at work making sure Albuquerque isn't about to step on the toes of anyone who already has license to the letter.

"And to have some competitive protection ourselves ... (pause) -- from other cities that have two qs in their names," Johnson said wryly during a conference call with the Journal and city officials after the powers that be met about trademark issues last week.

"We're worried about Quebec," Johnson said.

Mayor: "I hear they're changing their name."

Seriously, the mayor said, "We're still Albuquerque, or Albuquerque, if you prefer. People can call us whatever they want, use whatever Q they want. They can use the whole word, half the word, or Spanish slang if they want to."

While the Q is designed to be a marketing tool for business development and for the ACVB to promote city tourism, some local business people are already seizing upon the letter's potential.

Carl Baca just earned his real estate license this summer and immediately secured the Internet domain name for a future residential real estate business. He's currently focused on a commercial endeavor in the North Valley.

"That's like free marketing for anybody who essentially drafts off of that name, or identifies themselves as something having to do with the Q. It really doesn't matter what business you have, but something with the Q will sound familiar to people with the city and within the state and even in the nation.

"I couldn't afford as an individual business owner to obtain that kind of marketing."

Mayor Martin Chavez says Q-lovers and Q-haters and those who just don't care are welcome to e-mail him their opinions or statements of ambivalence at

Copyright (c) 2007, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.


We are writing in response to Autumn Gray’s column in the Business Outlook (“All riled up over that Q,” Thursday, 8/23/07). Soy de Burque was not contacted for this column and, as a result, we feel that our movement has been misrepresented by the author. For that reason we
are compelled to respond in this uphill battle to sustain our identity and culture. We do not have the resources nor the contacts that the Q or Rick Johnson have to be asked our opinions on this continuing merry-go-round.

As for the staff of the Albuquerque Journal, the largest circulating newspaper in
the state, we feel it is your responsibility to present both sides of the
story in order to maintain any sort of journalistic credibility. We are not difficult to
contact and would enjoy being included in discussion regarding this important issue.

We feel the comment, but the overall tone from this albeit small
segment of the community, is careless. Are there statistics or
reports validating this claim? Ask anyone of the many people who have
responded to our movement if they feel alone in their support for
Burque. To simply claim that it is only a small “anonymous resistance group” that cares about its culture and identity, without verifying your sources, seems to be quite negligent. As far as we're concerned, the reaction to this government-inspired cultural branding and our movement Soy de Burque is not small. Unfortunately, neither is the amount of money that the city is spending on this branding effort as a “marketing tool.”

This is tax payer money. Since when do we allow the government to
define us? As a democracy we are responsible to define our
government, not the other way around. Recent moves by the city’s top elected official fall nothing short of politicking, and a branding effort is just as transparent as other statements and initiatives. It is obvious to us Burqueños that he is simply packing his resume for political aspirations beyond his service as mayor.

Soy de Burque is an organization attempting to raise the profile of
Albuquerque as a cultural hub, distinct from other cities around the
world. Our focus is promoting social responsibility in local business operations
and awareness to social justice issues impacting the people of
Albuquerque. We want to preserve the rich culture and identity of Albuquerque’s residents.

Our purpose is to raise the issue that people care about regarding Burque,
not just as a name, but as a metaphor for citizens resisting decision-making without their consent.

We respect all opinions for or against branding our city. Those are
words from the people. The Q,” on the other hand, is something forced
upon us.

But again, I digress; our primary issue is not what we're called. Call
Albuquerque what you want. This isn't any politician's city to name. That's the

We have also been featured on KOBTV with Jeremy Jojola and interviewed
with the Weekly Alibi. Visit our web page,, for these stories as both sides were able to present their opinions.

Viva Burque.


Soy de Burque

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