The law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork. Naturally, this opens up a whole can of whoop ass on what's legal or not -- creating an intense national debate that could be settled if anyone bothered to look at the Constitution. And that's part of Arizona's brilliance in launching this campaign to draw attention to the state: they successfully gambled that people would rather argue about the obvious than disprove it.
The new Anti-Immigration Law campaign has even garnered celebrity tie-ins. Within days of announcing it, Linda Ronstadt, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and George Lopez have chimed in on Arizona. Do you have any idea what these celebs would charge to talk about a product? Arizona got all of them for free. Add to that all the late-night talk show exposure, rallies in cities across the country, debates involving the President, and Arizona is suddenly the hottest ticket in the country. Talk about ROI -- Sen. Pearce and his Arizona lawmakers probably invested in a couple of quarts of coffee spiked with peyote and moonshine to cook this law up -- and voila: more exposure than back-to-back Super Bowl commercials.
For years, Arizona has languished in the morass of backwater branding initiatives. Its tag line, "Experience Arizona," could apply to anything from a new brand of Musk to a bunion dissolver. As a matter of fact, it's probably being used by a half a dozen other states with equal ineffectiveness. With their previous stance on things like refusing to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Sen. Pearce's endorsement of a deportation program known as Operation Wetback, Arizonans finally have a message that reflects the core attitude of their state: racism. It's brilliant and it opens up a real new demographic.
Instead of waiting for aging Republicans to finally throw in the towel and retire to Scottsdale, the world's largest golf course, Arizona can now count on a virtually untapped and unaddressed demographic: closet and not-so-closeted racists. The word is out: Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, Aryan Nation and White Supremacists, come to Arizona, you have a new playground!
The groundswell in newfound tourist money alone could carry the state for decades, not to mention all the Klan and Neo-Nazi rallies that would now be openly welcomed to take advantage of Arizona's terrific convention facilities.
I'd like to personally offer Arizona some additional tag lines to go along with this fame, before Leo Burnett or some other expensive agency decides to go after the account. How about: "Bring your guns to Arizona, we'll supply the targets"; "Arizona is for haters"; "If you're white, Arizona's all right" and "Arizona sends Latin Lovers Packing."
It's truly ironic that a state whose population is one-third Hispanic would want to alienate such a large and valuable workforce. If not for the illegal aliens, who would Arizona's "law abiding" business owners employ to do all the dirty jobs like beheading chickens and providing cheap stoop labor for agribusiness? If Arizona lawmakers really wanted to stop illegal immigration, they would go after those enabling it: Arizonans, not Mexicans.