Does Massachusetts Need an Ad Campaign?

new york cityPhoto via Thinkstock


In this week’s round of “What’s New York doing and should we be doing it also?,” we look at our neighbor’s advertising campaign for business. As the Herald noted this morning, New York is running a two-year, $100 million ad campaign to try attract corporations to settle in the state, featuring commercials with gravelly voice overs from Robert DeNiro (who must be resting up in between Meet the Parents sequels).

You can check out the advertisements at the state’s website,, but I’ll spare you: They’re exactly what you’d expect. While Jay-Z and Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind” plays, DeNiro tell us that New York is great at business! Workers tell us they can’t imagine being anywhere else! Here, an excerpt:

Once again, New York State is a place where innovation meets determination and where businesses lead the world.

The new New York works for business. Find out how it can work for yours at


What’s most impressive is that the New York governor’s office is extolling the traffic their website is seeing: 23,000 visits in a month! The only problem: If they’re spending $100 million over two years, a month’s worth of spending for them costs more than $4 million. Or, you know, $181 per visitor. That’s not so good. Even worse is the fact that visitors are barely clicking around the site, netting fewer than 26,000 pageviews. It seems likely that people are coming to the site, watching the ad, and then going elsewhere.

As Greg Bialecki, the Massachusetts secretary of housing and economic development pointed out:

“We have not seen any evidence that these sorts of ad campaigns actually drive business location decisions. It is not as glamorous, but we are putting our money into investments in education, innovation and infrastructure that create a sound foundation for business growth.”

I’m with Massachusetts on this one — $100 million is a waste of money.