Friday, October 26, 2018

Nebraska's Boring Tourist Pitch Might Just Work

Are you a tourist heading to Nebraska? Unlikely, but if you go, hop into
 a livestock tank and float down a river. They do that there, apparently. 
I've been to Nebraska, and frankly, I don't find it all that exciting. A lot of people don't.

Oh, in Nebraska, there's nice places, things to do, and the people are wonderful. (The previous Nebraska tourism campaign was called "Nebraska Nice.")  Still, the parts of Nebraska I've seen, it's a little bit of a yawn.

But every state wants to draw tourists, and Nebraska is no exception. The state has a new tourism campaign that's a bit counter intuitive, but it might just work. Or not. We'll see.

"Honestly, it's not for everyone," is the Nebraska tourism tagline.

The campaign has an uphill battle. Nebraska consistently ranks as the "least likely state" tourists want to visit, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Certainly, Nebraska has its unique qualities.

One print ad in the new tourism campaign goes like this, according to the Omaha World-Herald:

"Lucky for you, there's nothing to do here," is the headline on one print advertisement that displays a smiling band of partygoers, floating down a Sand Hills stream in livestock tanks in the Nebraska-invented sport of 'tanking.'"

I have to admit, tanking sounds so bizarre I'd like to try it. At least once.

The landscape that I've seen in Nebraska is very flat and featureless. But I've obviously not been to every corner of the state. One of the new Nebraska tourism ads is headlined "Famous for our flat, boring landscape. The photo shows a couple jumping around an interesting, rocky landscape in Nebraska's Toadstool Geologic Park.

Another part of the new tourism campaign is headlined "Festivals for everything from mud to testicles."  That refers to the Nebraska's Roumd The Bend Steakhouse, which features deep fried sheep (!!!) and beef testicles.

Before you roll your eyes at that, do remember we here in Vermont have festivals like the Black Fly Festival in Adamant, which celebrates those clouds of tiny, biting insects that ruin any attempt to go outdoors in the otherwise lovely month of May.

We in Vermont can also enjoy the annual Burdock Festival in Benson, which is supposed to have us enjoy those extremely annoying weeds with those spiky burs that cling to our clothing if we even get close to that plant.

Of course Vermont is a much more of a tourist mecca than Nebraska. Vermont is just completing its High Holy Season, in which easily more than 3 million  tourists descend on the Green Mountain State to watch leaves die in the autumn. OK, they're gorgeous, colorful deaths, but still.

Stephen Colbert recently noticed the Nebraska tourism pitch, and he added lots of suggestions for other states to use.

North Dakota; "You can't visit all 50 states without visiting North Dakota."

I go to South Dakota fairly frequently, because I have relatives there. The state's OK in terms of interest, but Colbert has this tourism slogan idea: "South Dakota: When North Dakota's full."

Colbert even had a suggestion for Vermont: "Not gonna win an award for best state or nothin' but have you seen New Hampshire?"

Yep, the rivalry between 802 and 603 is alive and well.

He had a few more suggestions. Here's the Colbert tourism clip:

Here's the Colbert clip:

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