Joan Barron: It’s time to lure the tourists

CHEYENNE – You know it’s summer travel season when you see big magazine ads from state tourism organizations.

The latest edition of Smithsonian Magazine features a two-page ad from Illinois and a one-page layout from Nebraska, our neighbor to the east.

The Illinois ad is traditional with the tagline: “The middle of it all.”

A previous slogan was ‘Are you ready for adventure’ and ‘Mile after beautiful mile’.

The new ad touts the charms of the city of Chicago, offering “discovery and excitement” during tours of the botanical gardens, museums and sun-drenched days on 30 miles of lakefront.

The latter includes world-class entertainment such as live music, Michelin-star dining and ‘breathtaking’ architecture.

A bit exaggerated but effective. The ad doesn’t mention the crowds and lines wherever you go. No tourist advertisement ever does that. That’s not their goal.

The city of Chicago, which I have always loved, is an easy sell to those in the tourism industry.

You have to remember that the people who come up with these ads are very smart and, more importantly, creative.

They’re the type of experts who developed the slogan for tiny Rhode Island: “Fun-sized.”

It’s that dose of crazy humor that makes these types of advertisements or slogans stand out.

That’s why you have these wonderful ads from the Nebraska tourist people.

With little to brag about in a state that was long, flat and mostly brown, the Nebraska crew decided that self-deprecation was the key.

“Nebraska is not for everyone,” is the state’s slogan. The ads then claim that the state has attractions that will appeal to only a portion of the population.

Those types of ads attract attention.

Rather than boasting about Nebraska’s stunning natural beauties, it humorously admits the state’s scenic shortcomings.

Nebraska’s ad in the Smithsonian Magazine is similarly self-deprecating

“Luckily for you, there’s nothing to do here,” it begins. The ad then explains that people in Nebraska create their own fun.

What was fun was the decision that a cattle tank can float and be a ‘boat’. The result is a float trip down the Nebraska River.

The ad is accompanied by a photo of groups of happy young people sitting in a floating livestock tank in a river. “It may not be everyone’s teacup,” the ad continues.

It’s definitely not for me.

But the Nebraska ad writers, whoever they are, worked well with the material at hand.

Nebraska has more miles of river than most states, making it the perfect destination for a boat tour.

For example, Nebraska has become known for its unique method of floating, called ‘fueling’.

Meanwhile, Wyoming is blessed with two national parks, beautiful mountains and a world-renowned major rodeo in Cheyenne.

But some states are not so lucky.

According to internet sources, Missouri is the state most often left out of a test list of US states

Alaska has the lowest number of tourists.

Idaho is a beautiful state overshadowed by states to the east such as Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. According to an online article in Business Insider, tourists in Idaho can expect reasonably priced rentals and other accommodations.

“Famous potatoes” is Idaho’s slogan. That was an easy one.

Nevada is of course a state with Las Vegas, but also other attractions such as Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert.

“A world within. A state apart,” is Nevada’s state slogan. I do not know what that means.

By the way, I’m not sure what the Wyoming slogan, That’s WY, means either.

I liked the old one: ‘Like No Place on Earth’.

Then there was another compelling idea that was proposed but not adopted.

It said ‘Welcome to Wyoming. Now go back home.”

Contact Joan Barron at 307-632-2534 or [email protected]

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