“I’m responding to Keith Killen’s recent letter and the article regarding the ‘branding event’ held. While I believe many are sincere and hopeful; I think it’s time for review and reality. The My Marinette/Menominee campaign by Deluxe Corp was a resounding sham. Watching Amanda Brickman (whose resume includes working for Billy Graham on his tent revivals) parade around the communities telling us that, ‘I know you’ll win because you have two downtowns’ only to be told that was the very reason we didn’t make the top six.

“This was a con game, a Ponzi scheme designed to make money for Deluxe. I’m still getting their emails trying to sell me something. The one thing this effort did accomplish was to bring the two cities together in a common cause. The reality is that we can accomplish so much ourselves. We don’t need an outside business to come in and tell us how to run our businesses. That, in fact, betrays the concept of shopping local. We have competent, vital media outlets locally that support our efforts. Most businesses have creative, talented people who can share their ideas and a strong, committed community who can execute them. Our brand is independent, local residents who are not buying into formula marketing: insert name here.

“The My Marinette/Menominee hoax hurt people and left some bitter. We’re better than that. Let’s build on our strengths, talents and not be conned again. Fool me once ... shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”