Commentary

Louisiana Economic Development Effectively Educates Non-Residents on Job Opportunities

I've lived my entire life in blue states, generally thinking, voting and brow-furrowing-while-reading The New York Times the way that blue-state people do. I've long regarded the Mason-Dixon Line as a psychological barrier separating monocle-wearing erudition and pratfalling mopery. I'd sooner host a bedbug convention in my chest hair than distill moonshine, evade officious lawmakers in the General Lee or otherwise fall in line with behaviors particular to the South.

That's my long way of saying that I have no idea why I keep getting served ads encouraging me to check out Louisiana Economic Development's videos. Wherever I go on the web, it's all "watch the video!" this and "if you plan on pursuing your constitutional right to make big bucks without bureaucrats getting all up in your bid-ness, we're your state! We're the business-conduction equivalent of a road without speed bumps or traffic cops or paving!" that. It's relentless.

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I have no current plans to spread job-creation mirth beyond the table upon which my laptop rests. But I suppose it's within the realm of possibility that, at some point in the future, I'd expand my single-desk empire to include a stenographer and maybe even a masseuse, and just as conceivable that I'd look to a state other than my own for professionals in good standing. Louisiana Economic Development, whatcha got for me?

Per its videos, a whole heck of a lot. Of the clips to which ads direct me most often, LED seems most proud of the one about its FastStart "customized workforce training programs." The clip kicks it testimonial-style, with any number of execs professing their undying loyalty to employees trained via FastStart ("this program is unique," "[it is] a breath of fresh air"). Similarly, Area Development magazine, whose 2012 swimsuit issue boasted a "splashfest in the Seychelles!" theme, weighs in with an enthusiastic quip. Between talking heads and pull-quotes, viewers are treated to generic scenes of employees doing job-type things, like pushing large items through vast warehouses and watching liquids slosh around in test tubes. Me, I left the clip wondering exactly what FastStart is - a suite of training tools? seminars? both? neither? - but hey, people with important titles are impressed, so I probably should be as well.

In a second video, the head honcho of Coca-Cola's Baton Rouge bottling outpost does everything but wave pom-poms while praising LED's programs. LED-led employees, he notes, score highly in the "loyalty, dedication and work ethic" categories. LED helps him put the right people in the right jobs. LED inspires him to be a better leader. LED saved his drowning sister. LED taught him how to dance and how to love. If it weren't against God's law, he'd make an honest man/woman/quasi-corporation out of LED.

There are other clips, with cryptic titles like "Louisiana Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive - A Competitive Advantage," and it's easy to garner cheap giggles by mocking their rah-rah boosterism and complete absence of production values. But really, the LED videos do precisely what they're supposed to do, which is state Louisiana's case as a welcoming corporate home and do so with a minimum of fuss or frills. The clips are notable for what they're not: funny, glib or otherwise viral-minded. LED is trying to introduce itself to out-of-state audiences who know little about Louisiana's business climate, not entertain them. It's amazing how many organizations believe their primary mission in online video is to come off looking like Will Ferrell.

So yeah, LED gets it. In instances such as this, bland and informative beats bold and "funny." Would-be web Scorseses should take note.

1 comment about "Louisiana Economic Development Effectively Educates Non-Residents on Job Opportunities".
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  1. Ngoc T from Iowa, May 24, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.

    Hope you had as much fun writing this as I did reading it. The first two paragraphs are in epic Larry-esque style from the old Mag Rack days. Thanks for the memories.

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