The Mini Abe Super Bowl Commercial: Irresponsible Use of State Money

Before turning off the Super Bowl after the 3rd quarter because I was sleepy and it was getting sad watching Peyton Manning, I did get to catch some of the local advertisements. It’s funny, because I didn’t even recognize that there was a Menards commercial, even though I was singing “Save big money…” until a friend pointed at the tv quizzically. We then saw this commercial from the state-funded Illinois Office of Tourism:

It’s cute and clever enough. Mini Abe is showing you all the wonderment that is the state of Illinois. But my friend brought up several excellent points as Honest Abe was zip-lining and riding a motorcycle across the tv. “Who exactly is seeing this? And how much did it cost?”

Well, according to The Chicagoist, the ad only aired in Chicago and cost $127,000.

So, you’re telling me that the state decided to advertise itself to people who already here? At the price of $127,000? While you don’t need to try to persuade me about the power of tourism for the economy and I am always a champion of encouraging travel, both close and far from home, I can’t abide by this irresponsible use of state money.

In my other life, I work as a research assistant for a university in Illinois. The main part of my job is interviewing people. People who need support from the state and are in various stages of getting it. Most of them are not getting what they need, want, and, in my opinion, should be getting in support. $127,000 could be used in a myriad of other ways to help its citizens, particularly those often regarded as its most vulnerable.

Yes, people of Chicago, go explore the other parts of Illinois- it’s one of my goals this year- but did the state really need to waste money for potential health and social services (or even snow removal?) to tell us this?

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