In a recent article, the BC Business magazine has labeled ‘Cascadia’ as the buzzword of the month.
Coming on the heels of multiple trademarking disputes, it notes that the idea has now moved from social, cultural, environmental and political movement into an increasingly mature role as cultural icon, with a powerful ‘brand image’ of its own – one that is increasingly having to fight to remain open, public and free:
‘The Pacific Northwest’ is so passé. There’s a fresh way to display regional affiliation – one that’s causing a brand war in B.C. and down the rest of the West Coast’
The article then goes on to state that “The oft-proposed, very conceptual unified nation of Oregon, Washington, B.C. and, occasionally, Montana and Idaho, is having a hell of a year—at least as an increasingly mined brand. Maybe it’s because of growing validation. Time magazine included the region in a piece called “Top 10 Aspiring Nations” in 2011 and commentators from biologists to tourism operators are calling it a “bioregion,” if not a sovereign state. It all started in the ’70s (of course), when an Oregon-based sociologist named David McCloskey coined the term and a sci-fi novel called Ecotopia set in the region hammered its attributes home. Twenty years later another Oregon local created the Doug flag—tri-colour with a black Douglas fir at its centre—and the concept had a visual identity… one that’s never been hotter than it is today. Especially if you’re on the wrong side of a trademark infringement.”
The article then goes on to list the recent controversies that have embroiled the term Cascadia, from it’s use in a Adidas commercial featuring the Timber Army, in which it declares that “Revolutions are born from simple ideas” to trademark disputes with Steamworks brewery and finally the MLS attempting to copyright the Cascadia Cup, in both instances prompting massive, grassroots resistance. In the case of the MLS dispute, resulting in supporter groups forming the Cascadia Council to help to dispute the MLS legally.