I appreciate John Wagner's pointer to this story about an ad exec in Mississippi (hereafter: "Miss") who got tired of everyone thinking they were still wearing pointed hats, and is doing something to show the treasures of his state.
Why? Because they're more superficial than not. Can't you see some chamber of commerce suits and some visitors association people in a meeting room, saying to each other: "A new tagline will make all the difference." And they come up with badly-conceived ideas like "Kansas. As Big As You Think."
The problem, of course, is that there's nothing new and interesting about Kansas, or very many other places. Until there is, there's no reason for anyone to change their behavior (that is, to pick up and travel to and spend money in Kansas, which is the desired outcome).
There's a difference in the efforts most states make, and in at least elements of the Miss effort. Most try to use words only to change the way you think and influence your behavior. Others use words to show you something different that changes the way you think. One is evidence-based, others are not. One is authentic, others are not.
Now, which is more effective? There always are some schmoes who will lap up the words and act on them, but that number is shrinking fast as consumers' capabilities -- namely to discern relevant information and make choices -- continue to grow.
The Miss executive is at least going in the right direction by revealing the state's natural beauty, not trying to gloss over its troubled racial past, and inviting a look at its heritage. (For the record, Mississippi is in fact a beautiful state -- I've been there several times.) It'll be interesting to see about results.
MORE: The hits keep coming from John. He applies the same reasoning to Wal-Mart here. Well done sir.