Nebraska's new tourism campaign takes 'honest' approach: 'There's nothing to do here'

The old slogan and campaign touting “Nebraska Nice" reportedly proved to be a flop.
(Nebraska Tourism Commission)

Nebraska’s new tourism campaign is being met with mixed reactions on social media, as the Cornhusker State’s fiercely self-deprecating campaign sarcastically highlights the very virtues it is often mocked for.

Released by the Nebraska Tourism Commission on Oct. 17, the searing slogans aim to catch consumers’ attention in a “disruptive” way and shatter perceived notions while keeping in mind the unique “marketing challenges” that the state faces, the official press release states.

“Lucky for you, there’s nothing to do here,” reads one ad featuring a group of people floating down a river.

“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow."
(Nebraska Tourism Commission)

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“Famous for our flat, boring landscape,” reads an ad with a photo of people hiking – and jumping – across tall rocks.

“Another day on the dusty plains” captions a billboard of boy hopping through a waterfall. Each ad is also accompanied by the outline of the state and a slogan reading, "Honestly, it's not for everyone."

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​​"This campaign speaks to their sense of adventure and discovering what we as Nebraskans are all about."
(Nebraska Tourism Commission)

The campaign itself was produced by Colorado advertising agency Vladimir Jones, which ran test groups with out-of-state visitors likely to visit Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald reports.

According to the outlet, the old slogan and campaign touting “Nebraska Nice” proved to be a flop with many.

“It was important to the Nebraska Tourism staff, marketing committee and Commissioners to be true to who we are and honest about what we are not.  Along each step of the way we were heavily involved in discovering ourselves and what those outside of our borders thought and felt,” Deb Loseke, Nebraska Tourism Commission chair, said in the statement. “So we discovered that we can't offer something to everyone — but to those that we can, this campaign speaks to their sense of adventure and discovering what we as Nebraskans are all about.”

“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow,” state tourism director John Ricks similarly told the World-Herald. “We had to shake people up.”

Meanwhile, in the hours since the campaign went public, Twitter users both in Nebraska and beyond have had a whole lot to say.

“Honestly, it's not for me. By leading with the negative stereotypes it's only drawing more attention to them. There's a lot to be proud of in Nebraska. Self-deprication feels lazy here,” one critic clapped.

“Wasted money,” another agreed.

Others yearned for the return of slogans of days past, while others described the new stunt as “awesome.”

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“Love it! It is humor, it bold, it is attention getting and it is honest! We are an amazing state inside [and] out! We also are aware we are not hustle and bustle… glitz and glamour. We are simple, We are who we are… and that is pretty good!! #NebraskaProud” one fan said.

Whether or not the controversial new ads spur tourism remains to be determined.

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