May 28, 2022

Letter: Why Spend $27 Million on Out-of-State Tourism Campaign?

To The Editor:

This letter is in response to an article written by Shelly Banjo in the May 14, 2012 issue of the Wall Street Journal. The State of Connecticut has spent $27 million on a tourism campaign and hired Chowder, Inc., a NY advertising agency to lead it. Why isn’t our own government hiring ONLY local crews from within the state instead of partially outsourcing much needed jobs? Why has this money left the state? This is not the first time the state has outsourced its tourism campaign to NY. They did it in 2005.

The Connecticut Department for Economic and Community Development’s Offices of Culture and Tourism is the same department that promotes Connecticut’s Film, Television and Digital Media industry through their production guide. It is filled with talented advertising agencies, graphic designers, writers, photographers, actors, film and television crews, etc. This is quite contradictory.

In attempt for the New York agency to understand our state, they assembled a market research focus group that met in Westchester, NY. In Banjo’s article she writes that Jim Ritterhoff, a partner at Chowder Inc. observed one participant who stated, “Out of 50 states, I don’t think anyone would say that Connecticut is the most inspiring.”

On the contrary, I think Connecticut is awe-inspiring. We are home to some of the world’s most impressive corporations (PEZ, Lego North sails, Bigelow Tea, ESPN, World Wrestling Entertainment, Consumer Reports Auto Testing Center), universities (Yale, Wesleyan, Connecticut College), homesteads and museums (Mark Twain House, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the Florence Griswold Museum, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, the Hillstead Museum designed by Theodate Pope Riddle one of the first American women architects). We have the US Coast Guard Academy, Gillette Castle, The Goodpeed Opera House, the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts, Mystic Seaport which houses the largest collection of America’s Cup footage in the world and is the preeminent maritime museum worldwide, Mystic Aquarium and Dr. Robert Ballard’s renowned Institute for Exploration, the Essex Steam Train and River Boat, two of the country’s oldest and continuously running ferries, quaint historical villages, beaches, boating, state parks for camping and hiking, vineyards, Sail Fest where the world’s tall ship regularly converge, and the Connecticut River, hailed by the Nature Conservancy as one of the last 10 great places, just to name a few.

Banjo cites: “After spending $27 million on a soul-searching advertising campaign, Connecticut proclaimed Monday that the state is Still Revolutionary.” Here’s a slogan for you: Connecticut: Proud to be the Quiet, Cultural State. That will be $27 million dollars, please.


Caryn B. Davis