Is Ohio trying to pick a fight? Why ‘edgy’ red billboards have popped up across US

Screengrab from Reddit post.
·2 min read

Bright red billboards have popped up in major cities on the east and west coasts, and down south to Texas, offering criticism in bold white letters. Some may describe them as snide and clever, and each has a very direct point.

“Live where you can actually save for a rainy day,” a billboard in Seattle declared, Geekwire reported.

“Keep Austin weird. Like very high cost of living weird,” read another in Texas, according to the San Antonio Express News.

A more recent example says, “300 days of sunshine doesn’t matter if you’re always inside working,” the outlet reported.

Next to these remarks is the culprit’s name — Ohio, and a web address, OhioIsForLeaders.com .

Anyone who’s seen the billboards, or those just learning about them now, may be wondering: What is the “Buckeye State” getting at with these signs? What is a buckeye, and do I even care enough to Google it? And where is the state of Ohio, again?

The state — situated somewhere in the midwest — wants people to move there, and the billboards are all part of the ploy, Cleveland.com reports. And with many willing and able to move freely, since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off the work-from-home shift for millions, the opportunity to bring in new Ohioans has never been better.

JobsOhio, the state-funded economic development group behind the billboard campaign, writes on its website that the coasts were once “the place to be … but high costs of living and doing business and population problems are influencing citizens to look for other options.”

Aside from bringing in more people and workers, Ohio aims to court businesses as well, outlets report.

Follow the link to OhioIsForLeaders.com and one of the first things touted on the website is its 0% corporate income tax.

So what is the solution to these problems? Moving to Ohio, the state-funded group says

At the very least, the campaign has caught people’s attention and stirred up conversation online, Cleveland.com reported.

“This is actually exactly why we’re doing it,” Matt Englehart, a spokesman for JobsOhio, told the outlet. “We’re excited about talking about it...The purpose is to draw the attention. It’s designed to have some fun while we’re being kind of edgy.”

While “edgy” is a relative term, JobsOhio wasn’t afraid to touch on the topic most sensitive, most sacred to Texans — size.

“Everything is bigger in Texas, except your house,” another Austin billboard read, the outlet reported.

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