Branding the Garden State in spite of “Jersey Shore”

Objective

Help the state of New Jersey attract businesses.

Target

Senior management at large companies in one of ten targeted industry clusters and corporate relocation consultants.

Insight

New Jersey offers the highest concentration of highly educated workers in the world in a location that provides access to global transportation.

Strategy

Use the negative New Jersey stereotypes as a way to tell the opposite story.

Execution

Leverage iconic New Jersey people and products to say “highly educated, perfectly located.”

Results

The claim that New Jersey had the world’s highest concentration of scientists and engineers was challenged by the website politifact.com. After going through the methodology that was used to determine that claim, the site gave the ad a 100% true rating. The work has had positive reactions from several prominent people, including the state’s lieutenant governor.

Note

In addition to the creative being a hit, the creative brief initially won the business. The first round of creative was too conservative for the client, who wanted something that hit the stereotype of New Jersey on the head. However, the brief and the insight it contained won the agency the account after a second round of creative was presented. This second round better reflected the direction in the brief and was a true reconceptualization of the “highly educated” message.

Another issue with the campaign was a challenge to the claim that New Jersey was home to more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere in the world. The website politifact.com asked for verification, and when we presented the numbers supporting this claim, deemed it 100% true. It’s not everyday that an ad gets challenged in public like this, so it was an exceptional feeling to be able to prove it correct. Especially considering it was core to the claim of “highly educated.”

PolitiFact NJ