Indiana splashes economic message on Times Square

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.”

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