Starting this week, young professionals in Chicago may see a new ad campaign on the subway, at the gym, on their phones or even on their beer coasters pitching Wisconsin as the place to be.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. launched the $1 million marketing campaign Monday — the first of its kind in state history — with a series of ads contrasting cramped subway cars and apartments in Chicago with cheaper rent and faster commute times in Wisconsin.
“The choice is yours,” states one ad featuring paddlers on Lake Monona with Monona Terrace gleaming in the background. “In Wisconsin, the average commute is less than 22 minutes, so you can spend less time traversing the rails and more time in the sun exploring our 15,000 lakes. Wisconsin. It’s more you.”
The campaign is one of several strategies the state has developed to combat a growing worker shortage, which the Wisconsin State Journal highlighted in its Workers Wanted series last fall. The idea is to combat the perception, identified through recent WEDC surveys, of a Wisconsin filled with farms, bars and cheese.
The ad campaign, which runs through June 30, targets 21- to 35-year-olds with idyllic scenes from 15 locations around the state, including Madison, McFarland, Monona, Milwaukee, the Milwaukee suburbs, Green Bay, Appleton, Portage, Nekoosa, Wausau and the Ashwaubenon forest.
It includes advertising on social media and other websites, posters in health clubs, coasters in downtown Chicago bars, and ads on the interior and exterior of Chicago Transit Authority trains. WEDC also has redesigned its InWisconsin.com website to provide job, housing and lifestyle resources for those looking to move to Wisconsin.
Gov. Scott Walker has called for an additional $6.8 million to expand the campaign to other cities.
The Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy is holding a public hearing Wednesday on the proposal.
The additional funds include $4.3 million for expanding the Chicago media campaign to Minneapolis and Detroit, and $2.5 million for a veterans traveling recruitment effort.