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Campaign puts jingle in city's step

Mayor Pam Iorio unveils a new Tampa civic pride campaign, complete with its own 60-second jingle.

Published June 3, 2004

TAMPA - Mayor Pam Iorio has given Tampa employees and residents something to sing about.

Before several hundred city workers and community leaders Wednesday morning, Iorio announced Tampa's new civic pride campaign, "I am Tampa, doing my part!" - and released a 60-second jingle, written just for the city.

Got a smile on my face and it won't go away. 'Cause the place I call home makes me feel that way. Looking out my window, every day I see, Tampa's smiling right back at me . ."

"Okay. It's not New York, New York," Iorio joked with reporters after the 15-minute pep-rally style unveiling at the Tampa Convention Center.

"This campaign is about the people that make Tampa great. If we all "do our part,' who knows where this community can go."

Inspired by the good deeds of ordinary citizens and by employees going the extra mile, the effort will include television and radio promotions and a dozen billboards throughout the city.

"We've asked city employees to treat Tampa as their own front yard," Iorio said. "And the 4,800 city employees of Tampa have responded beautifully."

Featured in one of the billboards is Buccaneer lineman Derrick Brooks, who spoke at the ceremony.

"When you leave here today, believe in the motto that "I am Tampa,' " Brooks said. "And believe in making a difference."

Getting the program off the ground cost $155,000, Iorio said. The city contributed about $4,800. The balance came from corporate sponsors such as Tampa Electric Co., Bank of Tampa, Ferman Motor Car Co. and Tampa Steel Erecting Co.

Howard Ellis, 59, of Lakeland produced the I Am Tampa song and coined the phrase. He said Iorio asked him a year ago to get on board with the concept. Ellis had produced television ads for Iorio's mayoral campaign.

Before retiring, Ellis was partner of an advertising agency in Tampa and lived here for 30 years. He worked on the first promotional campaign for the Florida Lottery. But he had never written the theme song for a city.

"It's got a catchy melody," he said. "We think it has legs, as we say in this business."

Ellis said "I Am Tampa" emerged almost immediately as the slogan. He remembered attending a meeting in New York with other advertising executives. Someone started talking about Tampa and marketing possibilities, in light of the Buccaneers' Super Bowl win. "Is Tampa here?" someone asked.

"I raised my hand and said, "I am Tampa,' " Ellis recalled. "That feeling of being able to speak for Tampa. . . . It was a prideful thing. And that just sort of stuck in my mind."

- Times staff writer David Karp contributed to this report. Kevin Graham can be reached at 813 226-3433 or

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