Indiana splashes economic message on Times Square

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The state has taken its economic development efforts to Times Square in New York City, where a couple of 15-second ads promoting Indiana are shown every hour on a 26-foot wide digital screen.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is spending roughly $65,000 on the ads, which will run through the end of the year.

“Now, visitors to Times Square will see our message—a beacon, a larger than life invitation to learn more about Indiana as a state that works for business,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith.

“In Indiana, we have built a low-tax environment that glows vividly with America’s best skilled workforce, a triple-A credit rating and all the ingredients needed to grow a world-class business,” Smith said. “From Times Square to town squares across the state, Indiana is taking center stage.”

Each 15-second ad costs $13 to post on the screen, which is located on the CBS Super Screen at 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues. The ads began running in mid-August.

The ads feature three slogans:

—  "We’re not only a workforce, but a force that works."

—  "We’re at the crossroads of what’s possible and what’s next."

—  "Integrity is our complexion, innovation is our currency."

State officials said more than 1.5 million people are expected to see the ads daily.

H. Shanker Krishnan, a professor of marketing at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, said the ads are clearly aimed at business leaders who make decisions about where their companies will be located or do business.

The location is “approximate to Wall Street and lots of businesses and lots of people traveling to that area for business could see the ad and think, ‘Hmm, we should think about Indiana,’” Krishnan said. “Nobody is going to make a decision based on that. But it brings awareness.”

Krishnan said the ads also indicate to business leaders that Indiana is being aggressive about economic development and is not just some sleepy Midwestern state.

Still, he said the ads won’t work by themselves; they need to be part a larger campaign.

“Nobody is going to just be standing out there looking at it,” he said. “Most of the time they’ll be doing something else—walking, commuting, having conversations, doing 10 other things rather than paying attention to a 15-second ad for Indiana.”

Katelyn Hancock, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, said the ads are part of the larger “A state that works” campaign that was announced in June. The larger campaign includes print, mobile and digital ads and can be seen at the Indianapolis International Airport, bus shelters and on Google searches.

Smith said the state now wants to try to “catch the attention of corporate decision makers in high-tax states like New York.”


  • Ironic?
    Am I the only one who noticed that the Indiana political establishment is scratching and clawing to remain a coal state and the ad features wind turbines? Seems like we want the big city folks to think we are more progressive than our politicians really area...
  • Sorry Zach
    When nearly all of our state agencies think that Indiana's very real reputation problem can be solved with a slogan and a tax incentive, it's easy to skim over which agency is doing what.
  • Too generic
    "Me" is incorrect. It isn't "tourism people" conducting this campaign. IEDC (economic development) is placing the ads. The state doesn't invest in the tourism industry to that extent. I do think it is fair to question IEDC's tactics. You don't target business execs in Times Square. In addition, the slogan "The State That Works" is way too generic. Pretty much any state can say that to some degree or another. It isn't memorable. A good slogan is specific to a locale and is very targeted. It's also backed up by more than a fleeting ad in the most saturated medium possible.
  • outside the box
    don't know why IEDC decision makers are thinking outside the box. should keep coloring inside the lines like most other states and earn their credit ratings, etc. now if they can get Miley as a spokesperson...
  • Wish this was a joke
    Nice job, IEDC. Continue to communicate to the rest of the world that Indiana is completely out of touch. Times Square is the LAST place a where a decision maker we want to attract will be hanging out. What a complete waste of money and energy. I can't even give them creativity points. This is idiotic!
  • Wow
    Good Lord, our state is run by a bunch of ignorant fools. The only jobs that are coming to Indiana are low-paying back office customer service jobs (ie Geico, the "big" job announcement today, etc.)
  • Ready to leave this state
    I agree with all of the previous comments. Billboard type ads are very expensive and must be carefully placed to target the intended audience. They also only work for certain types of businesses and services. Targeting potential business migration through this type of media is just insane. That was $65,000 that could have been put to much better use and the only winners here are those that sold it to us. With the tea party ruining our state we now are stuck with an incompetent governor who has never been successful in business and doesn't understand it. The slogan "Indiana is a state that works" also sounds backwater to me. I find nothing enticing about that slogan. Seriously, get rid of IEDC!
    • GASP
      As someone who resides in NJ and works between Times Square and Herald Square, I nearly gasped when I read the statement that "The location is “approximate to Wall Street and lots of businesses and lots of people traveling to that area for business could see the ad..." It's blatantly obvious that he's never been to NYC. I wholeheartedly agree with James and Me, business decision makers DO NOT frequent Times Square. As I mentioned, I work between TS & HS and I avoid TS like the plague.
    • PENCE = Gomer Pyle
      Complete waste of TAXPAYER RESOURCES. I guess Pence did not clean house from the Daniels Admin. IEDC NEEDS TO BE DISBANDED. Loaded with idiots who DO NOT understand business.
    • it was cheap. it was a false economy
      We own an agency with offices here and on both coasts. That is woeful media buy for reasons outlined with clarity by the previous posters – Times Square is the equivalent of running an ad at Disney World – maybe worse. (try DUMBO or Union SQ or maybe Chelsea). Or better yet, try targeting key decision makers with relevant data. It is exasperating. The difference in spend and sophistication between Indiana and our friends in Illinois and Michigan is just embarrassing. As for the messaging – what does " "Integrity is our complexion, innovation is our currency" even mean? Complexion? Are they implying we are "whiter" or something? If true, that's just awful. If not, it's a terrible parody of ad writing. I beg the state. Hire an agency. Preferably one that's done economic development or tourism work in a hard-to-sell state like Virginia, North Carolina or Tennessee. As a leader in a company that struggles to hire quality talent in this state (and has had no real problem doing so elsewhere) I'd like to publicly say the IEDC aren't helping. (Though, James, are you looking for a job ?)
    • Times Square is not near Wall Street
      Business executives traveling to NYC or who work in NYC do not visit Time Square *except to pass through in a black car or under on a train). Wall Street is miles from TS, as is Union Square and other hubs of ventures and high-power business. To read Prof. Krenshen state "The location is “approximate to Wall Street and lots of businesses and lots of people traveling to that area for business could see the ad..." is completely ignorant and makes obvious that he's never been to NYC. It makes me wonder if IEDC officials have either? There is so much marketing noise in TS, it's the last place to tell a compelling story. ---- That being said, positioning Indiana as a place to do business to New Yorkers (and visitors) is great. That being said, the the second two of three marketing statements presented are weak and lack clarity. I agree with "me" that this advertising placement and wording "makes Indiana look even MORE backwater."
      • Sigh
        Our tourism people act like there are no marketing or media strategists available. Actual decision-makers (read: locals) in New York avoid Times Square like the plague, so most of those 1.5 million are tourists. If anything, advertising there makes Indiana look even MORE backwater.

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