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South Dakota Not Taking Chicago’s No for An Answer

Using Newspaper Ad to Showcase Difficulty of Doing Business in the Windy City
 
Monday, December 8, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is firing back at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city hall officials who said the state could not advertise certain messages in the Chicago O’Hare Airport.

“We want companies to know that doing business is easy in South Dakota,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “Our experience in Chicago has made us realize just how important that is.”

In August, the GOED launched the second phase of its “Where Big Things Happen” branding and business recruitment campaign in Minneapolis and Chicago.

GOED Commissioner Pat Costello says part of the campaign strategy includes three large tension fabric banners placed just outside of a security area in Chicago O’Hare Airport.
 
“The initial messages on the banners—‘No Government Pat Downs,’ ‘Keep Your Change in Your Pockets’ and ‘We’re Hands Off When it Comes to Business’—were meant to juxtapose the ease of doing business in our state with the hassles of air travel,” said Costello. “After seeing the banners, Chicago airport authorities asked us to submit new messaging that did not seem to conflict with TSA regulations.”

The GOED revised the banners to say “Our Economy is First Class,” “Prepare Your Business For Take Off” and “Keep Your Change in Your Pockets.” That set of ads was then forwarded to Chicago city officials.

“A short time later we were informed by our airport advertising representative that the Mayor and the city were no longer allowing South Dakota, or any other state tourism or economic development entity, to advertise in the airport,” Costello said.
  
He says the GOED was told that Mayor Emanuel was upset by messages aimed at pulling business away from Chicago. Eventually, city officials reversed the decision but said South Dakota had to change its message.

“They thought ‘Keep The Change in Your Pockets’ was too aggressive so we resubmitted the ad with the message ‘Keep Your Profits.’ When we were told our ‘Keep Your Profits’ banner was not acceptable, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly why companies should move or expand to South Dakota,” said Gov. Daugaard. “In South Dakota, profit isn’t a dirty word and what better way to tell companies than with a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune.”
 
Three new banners—“Our Economy is First Class,” “Prepare Your Business For Take Off” and “Build Your Business in South Dakota”—have been approved by the City of Chicago and the airport and are scheduled to post in January 2015.

“While it’s not our original message, we think the new banners, coupled with the Tribune ad, will make an even stronger statement,” Gov. Daugaard said. “We make doing business easy in South Dakota. From our experience, Chicago does not.”

The GOED’s business recruitment campaign also includes magazine print ads, digital business and workforce recruitment banners, as well as wall wraps and backlit signs posted in the G Concourse of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. 

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Media Contact

Members of the media requesting more information should contact Natalie Likness at Natalie.Likness@state.sd.us or (605) 773-3301.