The Nevada Development Authority’s week-old marketing blitz on Southern California took a new tack last week, at the same time the agency’s latest assault began to draw the usual burst of national media attention.
On Tuesday, outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, the economic-diversification nonprofit unveiled its first-ever song, a little synth-pop ditty called “Kiss Your Assets Goodbye.” Tourists stopped to watch and snap pictures as a dance troupe outfitted with giant gag lips moved to the music.
The video has received 320 views since it appeared on YouTube three days ago. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ioWfOOmTQc
Meanwhile, the over-the-top campaign — which compares California lawmakers to chimpanzees and tells businesspeople to “bend over” for the state’s Legislature — appears to be working its usual PR magic.
The authority rarely has more than $1 million per fiscal year to spend on luring businesses to Nevada, so it relies on extensive coverage in the national media to broaden exposure to its message. Such leveraged media attention has generated as much as $12 million in free publicity during previous efforts, with articles appearing in national news weeklies and some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers.
The strategy is already paying coverage dividends again.
National wire stories about the campaign have appeared on the Web sites of news organizations including the San Francisco Examiner, CBS News and the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World. Papers including the Los Angeles Times and the Fresno Bee have published additional stories.
Some of the coverage says pitches like the authority’s take some effective shots at the Golden State’s tax and regulatory structure.
The Los Angeles Times, for example, noted that California businesses might indeed be ripe for the picking.
“California has battled such negative perceptions for years,” the paper wrote. “But its huge consumer base, great weather and dynamic entrepreneurial culture have kept many businesses anchored here. Still, in a tough economy when companies are looking to slash costs, some industry leaders fear poachers will be more successful this time around.”
The Times pointed to an authority analysis that found a light-industrial center that costs $405,478 a year to operate in Las Vegas would cost $625,774 to run in Los Angeles County. It also quoted an official of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. saying California has “become distinctly business unfriendly.”
The Fresno Bee was a little less impressed, though not turned off enough to avoid handing the authority some vital free coverage in Northern California, where the ads aren’t even running.
A blogger for the Bee sniffed that Nevada “is not any better for business than California.” The story took note of Nevada’s high foreclosure rate (hey, cheaper houses!), sneered at the Silver State’s outmigration (though more people have left California than have moved there for more than four years running) and credited California’s Indian casinos for slumping gaming revenue here. The Bee also called Nevada “the dumping ground for America’s nuclear waste,” though Yucca Mountain remains mired in the courts and closed for business, its future uncertain.
With that litany of complaints, one has to wonder: Doth the lady protest too much?