“Honest To Goodness Indiana?” Young people don’t think so


Listen: My WIBC report on my visit to a UIndy marketing class to get their take on the new state tourism slogan

Dear Indiana Office of Tourism Development,

Don’t misunderstand.  I am not trying to play dog-pile on the wabbit.  However, you can’t ignore the criticism of the “Honest To Goodness Indiana” slogan you chose.  I had a hypothesis; that you didn’t talk to very many young people as part of your research (Tongue in cheek addendum: Statehouse interns don’t count.  They like politics – virtually every other young person does not, therefore the interns are outside the norm).

So, at a cost of $0 as opposed to $100,000 that you spent on the research to come up with your slogan, I thought I’d spend time with some college students to see what they could come up in 30-45 minutes, as opposed to the several months it took to generate “Honest To Goodness.”

I owe everything in this report to the Consumer Behavior class of Dr. Deirdre Pettinga, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Indianapolis.  She allowed me to take up the entirety of one of her classes to put this piece together.  The students were outstanding, as you will hear, and please do not be offended by their repeated “old people” references.  Besides, that was one of the biggest criticisms I heard from many people just after the slogan was released.

To be sure, any slogan you chose would be criticized by someone, somewhere, and only time will tell whether your slogan decision will reap long term benefits.

One thing I did learn.  If you wish to have young people get your news, the way to do that is NOT to scheduled a big honkin’ press event or send out press releases to traditional media.  Not a single student in a marketing class at one of the area’s prominent universities could tell me what the new slogan was.  This was TWO DAYS after you announced it.  Young people don’t watch TV news, listen to radio news or read newspapers.  Frankly, about 90-percent of the time, neither do I – and I am 42 years old and working in the dang industry.

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