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State's Business Development Agency Says "The Future Is Here"

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private economic development agency, introduced a new brand Friday that will be featured in a $10 million global advertising campaign that declares, "Florida --- The Future is Here."

Enterprise Florida President & CEO Bill Johnson, who took over leadership of the agency a year ago, said during a board of directors meeting at Florida State University that the "business friendly" and "business forward" brand will be seen as "the best of any state in the nation."

"Every single day in the trade magazines, I rip out boring ads. From Pennsylvania, New York, they're boring. Texas, it's boring," Johnson said. "We're going to be fresh. We're going to show we're --- what? --- multicultural, multilingual. We have an unbelievable number of assets to sell, and we're going to do just that."

The new brand, which was selected from more than a dozen concepts in less than six months, replaces the often-criticized "Florida --- the perfect climate for business" brand.

The older brand was introduced in 2013 and featured an orange tie in the letter "i" of Florida. The argument against the brand was that the men's apparel seemed to exclude women.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a member of the Enterprise Florida board, said after the meeting that the new design is an improvement.

"I found it (the new brand) to be much more reflective of the dynamic nature of our economy than orange ties and sand castles," Putnam said.

The new brand will first start to appear in business journals and in online ads, before going out on radio and television. A webpage --- --- was launched Friday morning.

"The goal is when you're sitting in an airline seat to Geneva and you'll pull open your airline magazine and you'll open it and see an ad, the first thing you'll see is a picture," said Joe Hice, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Enterprise Florida. "You won't even need to read the copy. You'll know that is Florida business. It will be that image that you'll recognize almost instantly as Florida."

Hice also said Enterprise Florida will be able to measure the success of the ads through business inquiries and job creation.

Florida lawmakers gave $8.5 million to the public-private agency during the current fiscal year for the new brand and marketing. The agency has put up an additional $1.5 million for the effort. Gov. Rick Scott wants lawmakers to set aside $250 million next year for business-recruitment incentives through Enterprise Florida

The new brand was developed by Jacksonville-based St. John & Partners, working on a $580,000 contract from Enterprise Florida.

The News Service of Florida's Jim Turner contributed to this report.

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