Nebraska has a new tourism campaign, and honestly, it’s not for everyone.
“America's Frontier,” “Possibilities ... endless,” “Come See What We're Up to Now,” and the famous, “Nebraska Nice,” are all previous slogans for Nebraska’s Tourism Commission. They all play up Nebraska’s wide open spaces and folksy charm, and while they’re all fine and dandy as far as slogans go, they haven’t been all that effective.
Since 2013, Nebraska has consistently ranked as the least likely state Americans want to visit. The current “Through My Eyes” campaign has been a complete dud, and state tourism director John Ricks thought that it was time to take a completely different approach.
“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow,” Ricks told the Omaha World-Herald. “We had to shake people up.”
A year later, after countless focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one interviews, Nebraska now has its new slogan: “Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”
The process for creating this slogan started with the hiring of Brand Lever, a brand consultant who specializes in destination marketing. Last spring, he performed several surveys and found that the results showed people weren’t aware of Nebraska’s destinations. Even Nebraska’s residents would say “there’s nothing to do here.”
“I call bunk on that,” said Ricks. “There’s a lot of cool, fun stuff to do here.”
Back to the drawing board, the Lever and the Tourism Commission came up with a hilarious, if self-deprecating, slogan that poked fun at Nebraska’s general lack of interest. The slogan was unveiled Wednesday at a Nebraska City conference in a series of print ads and short commercial video.
One print ad said, "Famous for our flat and boring landscape," and featured a pair of hikers hopping over rock formations at Nebraska’s Toadstool Geologic Park. Another said, “Lucky for you, there’s nothing to do here," and shows partygoers floating down Sand Hills stream in livestock tanks and then explains the Nebraska-invented sport of “tanking.”
Well. “Sport” might be a strong term.
Focus groups appreciated the self-deprecating humor, and Rick says that it doesn’t reinforce any negative stereotypes about the state. The new campaign will hit TV, newspaper, and magazines starting next spring.