IEDC Times Square Ad: Creative or Hypocritical?

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) announced today that it was featuring an ad at New York’s Times Square – a marketing campaign designed to draw attention to the many reasons Indiana is a state that works for business.

According to the IEDC’s press release, “Indiana’s business climate already shined brighter than any Broadway marquee,” said Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. “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.

Victor is boasting about Indiana’s low-tax environment, a skilled workforce and a triple-A credit rating. Is creating a pro-business environment enough to attract businesses? Especially from a progressive state like New York.

As their press release shares, “Our latest campaign is featured in two 15-second advertisements on the CBS Super Screen in the heart of Times Square, one of the world’s most popular advertising venues. The advertisements, which began in mid-August, will run twice an hour through the end of the year and can be seen on the 26’x20′ Super Screen positioned at 42nd St. between 7th and 8th Avenues.”

As Muncie Voice pointed out earlier this week, two of the states largest employers, Cummings and Eli Lilly are funding Freedom Indiana, an organization fighting the republicans attempt to constitutionally ban same-sex marriages in Indiana. A former Luke Messer staffer, Megan Robertson is leading the campaign against the marriage ban. She said, “Indiana has always been a welcoming community known for our Hoosier hospitality. This amendment directly contradicts the reputation that has helped us recruit jobs and economic investment for our state.”

To us, this seems both ironic and hypocritical. It also shows a lack of consistency, and even suggests our republican leadership is out of touch with the marketplace.

Literally screwing over workers with Right to Work legislation and passing a bunch of ALEC backed laws designed to help businesses at workers expense then tossing in some hate toward the gay community is not exactly an environment that will attract companies, nor will it attract a young creative workforce who place a high value on quality of life issues.

Sorry Victor, but an ultra conservative red state will not be appealing to most emerging business leaders nor a creative workforce. Eli Lilly understands the attractiveness of cultural diversity, so maybe you should focus on actually improving our reputation, not just create another false image on the big screen.

In reality, slogans like “we’re not only a workforce, but a force that works,” “we’re at the crossroads of what’s possible and what’s next” and “integrity is our complexion, innovation is our currency” comes across as grossly hypocritical when your legislature is pushing a corporate/religious agenda on Hoosiers while discriminating against segments of our population.

Adding more insult to the equation is Ball State’s CBER study released showing that Hoosier’s personal income is equal to that of the rest of the United States from back in 1996. This shows our state does not respect workers.

So while the IEDC and Governor Pence tout our enviable fiscal condition, low taxes and talented workforce, they might want to focus on quality of life issues which have slipped for years. Two recent polls in a national real estate magazine, named Indianapolis as the ‘least healthiest’ of all cities and ranked 7th as the ‘least hip’.

The ads might seem like a good idea, but they prove lack of perspective. We should listen to Indiana’s two largest employers and drop the constitutional same-sex marriage ban. Pay some attention to our lagging quality of life issues, make sure everyone in Indiana has health care insurance like POTUS has authorized, and then turn our creative advertisers loose on Times Square telling the globe how much Indiana appreciates Hoosiers.

Until then, we call hypocrite.

Tell us what you think.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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