Note first that Madison is buying just a quarter-page ad. That's a fair scale-back from previous splashy full-page ads. And hey, it's a recession—ad buys are down all over*
But do we need a Madison booster ad that reminds us Madison's getting beat up in the recession?
...From its beginning, Madison
has survived many ups and downs
and still continues to thrive due to
the tenacity of our community. During
these difficult economic times, we
continue to put Madison first by
working to create new jobs, assisting
those who have lost their jobs...
Dang: if the economy is bad enough to make even the marketing crew at the LAIC talk straight, we must be in really tough shape.
I'm torn here: on the one hand, this acknowledgement of Madison's economic troubles reflects an authenticity that I've found lacking in previous local marketing efforts. But Governor Sanford was being authentic when he called his mistress his soulmate, and I'd suggest that was a message better left unpublished.
Madison's ad in the July Prairie Business is the only community development ad to take the "Gee, times are tough" tack. Instead of spending their ad dollars to tell everyone bad news that they can find out elsewhere, towns like Watertown, Aberdeen, and Mandan all mention specific things they have to offer (like Mandan's I-94 location, low-interest biz loans, and Renaissance Zone... for businesses whose employees dress like daVinci and make lutes and lances, I suppose).
Even the closing cheer in our ad—"We can make it happen!"—carries the unwelcome subtext that we aren't making it happen. If we're spending money to tell our story, we would do better to give examples of our successes (and leave it to the media and snarky bloggers like me to lob the counter-example tomatoes).
Oh well—here's to Madison's "progressive future," in which we finally bring in jobs that break Madison's secret wage cap... and in which the LAIC finally figures out how to do marketing right.
*except online—thanks, More Than Clean Water and Rutland School!