The private, non profit company that’s charged with creating jobs in Ohio has a new ad campaign. And as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, some are questioning whether it is sending the right message.
Democratic State Representative Denise Driehaus says she was shocked when she saw a full-page ad in her newspaper this weekend.
DRIEHAUS: "It struck me right off the bat because it’s the Ohio logo and I'm like, 'Oh, this is from JobsOhio,' and as I read through it I thought, 'Oh, this is being paid for by the taxpayers.' And then I kind of looked at it and thought, 'What is this thing?'"
The ad that caught her eye in the newspaper has also taken life in a television ad.
Driehaus wonders why the ad is asking people to tell share their business success stories, instead of focusing on the things she thinks businesses are looking for in a place to call home. She says Ohio should employ a more strategic way to market and brand itself for business and opportunity than just haphazardly shopping for personal stories of success.
DRIEHAUS: "I’ve never had a business owner say to me. 'Oh yeah, you know my neighbor said he works in Ohio, and I’ve decided to come here.' That’s just not what they look to. So, as a state, I’m wondering what the strategy could be. And having talked to so many business owners in my role as a state rep, I just can’t imagine what they are thinking. And it’s a lot of money – to date I think it is $1.4 million. And in my mind that money could have been better invested in education and funds for local government.
Marlon Cheatham with JobsOhio says the new Thrive in Ohio ad campaign is working. On a speaker phone, he says the ad here in Ohio is a little different from the message being used in ads outside the state.
CHEATHAM: "The message is that businesses and people are thriving in Ohio – that great things are happening all across the state and people are getting back to work."
Cheatham says this effort is getting noticed outside of the state of Ohio.
CHEATHAM: "The ads actually have a broad reach. They're running nationally. We've done the Wall Street Journal as well as regional publications such as the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette."
Cheatham says the campaign will continue, complete with stories of business owners who report they are thriving in Ohio.