News / City Life

Wisconsin tries to coax ‘disillusioned’ Chicagoans north with new campaign

Milwaukee Riverwalk
Photograph: John Karpinsky

Wisconsin really, really wants you. The state recently unveiled a $1 million marketing campaign that's targeted at Chicagoans, and the message is loud and clear: Move north for a better, cheaper, easier life. You'll spot the "Think-Make-Happen In Wisconsin" advertisements on Brown Line trains as well as select bars, restaurants and fitness facilities downtown.

The crux of the marketing blitz, led by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, is to bolster the state's workforce. How? Target Chicagoans' biggest woes.

The campaign features contrasting images of grueling, exhausting city life in Chicago contrasted with the leisurely laid-back lifestyle of a Wisconsinite. Why get stuck in traffic when you could be paddle boarding? Why splurge on a third-floor walkup when you could rent a spacious, upgraded condo in Milwaukee? Why take the train when you could be enjoying a particularly wild game of beach volleyball (naturally)? Of course, there are stats to back the claims: On average, a Wisconsin commute is less than 22 minutes; in Milwaukee, rental costs are 42 percent less than Chicagoan.

The Chicago Tribune pointed out that the advertisements are exclusively featured on the Brown Line, one of just two CTA lines that don't run through the city's West or South sides. A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation told the Tribune that "the Brown Line was chosen because it travels within the downtown Loop and North Side neighborhoods popular with millennials."

The campaign is scheduled to stick around until June, at which point it could move to other millennial-dense Midwestern cities. And there's really no need to worry about a sudden Chicagoan exodus to Wisconsin—anyone who is actually convinced to move north by a CTA ad probably wasn't long for Chicago in the first place.

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