(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — An organization trying to promote Florida’s job growth is facing backlash over a new logo that features a men’s necktie as the “I” in Florida.
Enterprise Florida Inc., a public-private partnership, released an early look at the state’s first “business brand” last week.
The slogan is “Florida: the perfect climate for business,” and a logo was shown to Enterprise Florida’s board and the press. The necktie contrasts with the rest of the lettering.
“Not very female friendly at all. With so many new women business owners impacting our economy…you should consider ditching the tie,” one female commenter wrote on Enterprise Florida Inc.’s Facebook page.
“Somebody in your marketing department really didn’t think this out, did they now?” a male commenter wrote.
“Your tie logo is offensive. What, business is men only?” another woman posted.
The new logo was debuted by Enterprise Florida board members with Florida governor Rick Scott.
Florida was ranked as the state with the fourth-highest number of female-owned business (587,600) in a study published by American Express last year.
Melissa Medley, chief marketing officer for Enterprise Florida, said the logo was just one part of a larger campaign that hasn’t publicly launched yet.
“If you see tie, you think business,” she said, explaining that the campaign tries to show there is more to Florida than its sun-and-sand tourism industry. “There’s nothing sinister here. There’s no secret formula how it was approached.”
She said an agency in Jacksonville, Fla., developed the brand campaign.
“I recognize some people might look at that and connect to a man’s article of clothing,” she said. “Most people do so because they haven’t seen the rest of the campaign. I respect people’s opinions and we would never do anything to offend anyone.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN