NEBRASKA CITY – The Nebraska Tourism Commission unveiled a new marketing campaign in Nebraska City Wednesday that puts the state’s pitch to travelers on a collision course with honesty.
Tourism Director John Ricks said the campaign is rooted in the core human values shared by Nebraskans and potential visitors.
Ricks: “To even make people listen — because brand apathy is a big problem — to even make people listen you had to hook them some how.”
The hook is honesty, which Ricks says is unavoidable in the research.
People out of state who were interviewed were apathetic about visiting Nebraska. They were more likely to say they would like to live here, than they would like to vacation here.
Ricks said the new marketing campaign is aimed at ending Nebraska’s place as the least likely state in the U.S. for people to visit.
Ricks: “I’ve been in destination marketing for almost 30 years and most of it is just showing things to see and do, every place has things to see and do. Why I’m excited about this is because this is the true, I think, perception changing campaign that I’ve been around.”
He said some people will connect with Nebraska’s core human values, including problem-solvers, wanderers and the intellectually curious.
Ricks: “These are people who want to be led around by the nose. These people just want to be shown and they’ll go find their own way because that’s who they are.”
Jeanna Stavas, owner of Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast and district representative for the state tourism commission, said the unveiling was well received.
Stavas: “It’s new. It’s different. It’s something that is a little edgy and I like it. I watched the audience when they saw it for the first time and it was a great reaction. I think we have something positive.”
The marketing campaign pokes fun at perceptions that Nebraska is flat and motionless.
It shows people floating down a river in livestock tanks, dancing at Carhenge and getting to know that odd kid.
Ricks said the campaign embraces perceptions about Nebraska, but challenges potential visitors to dig a little deeper into the true culture.
Ricks: “We had an ad that says lucky for you, there’s nothing to do.”