Golden State steps out of the shadows with PR campaign

SACRAMENTO, CA: Facing widespread perception of a state left in the

dark by rolling blackouts, a coalition of economic development groups in

California has launched a PR campaign to paint a brighter picture of the

Golden State.

According to the coalition, blackouts result in more than just lights

going off, they also have the potential for turning off businesses

considering moving to California.

"Let's face it," said Wayne Schell, speaking for the coalition,

"California's economic development community is contending now with not

one but two crises. There's the energy crisis, and then there's the

international perception of the energy crisis."

As a result, the coalition of more than 300 economic development

organizations across California have launched "The Power of California,"

a campaign to reach business and media centers such as New York,

Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington, DC, and present a more glowing picture

of what's happening in the state.

The initial budget is $150,000 for six months, but backers have

been quoted in the media as stating that this is just a "down payment"

on what they hope will become a larger effort. The coalition has hired

New York-based Development Counselors International (DCI) to handle the


Rob DeRocker, DCI EVP, said there is "a perception by outsiders that

(Californians) are spending days in the dark. It isn't true.

Nevertheless, the perception is there ... and perception can become

reality at the wrong time."

He explained, "There has been an avalanche of media to the point that it

has reached the vernacular." As one example, DeRocker cited NBC's Jay

Leno, who made a joke about the Californian plight by doing a portion of

his show in the dark. "That has the potential for having a very damaging

effect that can go beyond the actual power situation," he said.

DeRocker said the two basic objectives of "The Power of California" are

to counter the negative perceptions "and use this as a platform to tell

about the real power in California: people power, economic power, and

creative power."

The first campaign activity will be to brief key business leaders in

California, before taking the road show to major markets in the East and


Among the campaign's funders are the Los Angeles County Economic

Development Corporation, the Orange County Business Council, and the

Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Association.

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