Last night, I saw a TV commercial that made me want to go to Texas:
It’s interesting to look at this spot in light of the recent brouhaha over “Honest to Goodness,” Indiana’s new tourism slogan. Texas’s excellent slogan, unspoken in the commercial but incorporated graphically at the end, is “It’s like a whole other country.”
This is just one of a series of spots that show off Texas “experiences.” Texas is a big place, with real beaches and real cities and real cowboys. You don’t have to apologize for Texas.
We got a sample of one of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development ads this week on the front page of the Indianapolis Business Journal. The headline reads, “A Sunday Drive You’ll Want to Take into Monday,” and the copy begins: “Rounding a bend, you magically drive into a postcard world painted with the romance and beauty of a simpler time.”
Is it just me, or does it feel like we’re both trying too hard and not hard enough? A Sunday drive isn’t much to ask–but we walk right up to suggesting you might also consider booking a magical night at the Drury Inn in Terre Haute. (Hey: my first job in advertising was writing for the Terre Haute Convention & Visitors Bureau. I have a soft spot in my heart for the place. I’m allowed to make fun.)
On one hand, it seems wrong to hold Indiana to the standards of Texas: we just don’t have the variety or the depth of Stuff To Do in Indiana. Imagine, for example, if we consider our competition to be Kansas:
We completely kick Kansas’s ass. (Good slogan, though: “There’s No Place Like Kansas.”)
On the other hand, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it really is all about the execution. We could make the world of Indiana music every bit as sexy and cool and historical as the one portrayed in the Texas spot. We have Hoagy Carmichael and Wes Montgomery and Booker T. Washington and Cole Porter and Mellencamp and Margo and John Hiatt and the Zero Boys. We have the Mel and the Chatterbox and Fountain Square. And let us not forget that the IOTD’s campaign is running in Indianapolis. How geeked would we be if we saw Jenny DeVoe or Vess Ruhtenberg or Lily and Madeleine in a TV spot for Indiana?
Maybe they’ll get to that spot.
And on that note: what are you doing to make Indiana a more interesting place to be? Is our collective insecurity keeping you from turning your home state into the sort of place you’d want to visit? Are you supporting the local artists and events and establishments that make us different and special? Are you launching your own dreams into the world? (Insert shameless plug for stuff going on in Fountain Square this weekend.)
Some advertising wise guy–David Ogilvy is always a safe bet if you don’t know the attribution, although Ogilvy himself was a great quoter of quotes–once said, “There are no boring products–only boring copywriters.” Similarly, we might say, “There are no boring states–just boring people.” Don’t be boring, people, and we’ll be just fine here–even if we’re the only ones who know it.