A Nebraskan's Thoughts on the State's New Slogan

If you haven’t heard, the Nebraska Tourism Commission has recently been turning heads with their new slogan for the Cornhusker state: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.” The new slogan, released with ads that are equally honest, has received equal amounts of both praise and ridicule.

Photo: Nebraska Tourism Commission

Now, being someone who was born and raised in western Nebraska, I felt rather offended and angered by the commissions choice for the new slogan. I was reminded of the many occasions where I had to justify the state’s beauty and many opportunities to others who bashed it as “boring” and having “nothing to offer” (surprisingly enough these arguments were held with fellow Nebraskans). However, as I began to dig deeper into the commission's reasoning, I began to realize just how genius this marketing campaign actually is.

                                                                                              Photo: Nebraska Tourism Commission

The slogan literally takes the expression, “if you can’t beat them, join them” to a whole new level. The minds behind the ads found their “choice” words by asking people to describe Nebraska. The responses they received were the typical misperceptions- flat, dusty, boring-and provided the perfect opportunity to highlight how the state is actually the opposite of such descriptions. The problem isn’t that Nebraska has nothing to offer, it’s that visitors don’t know how to look past the before mentioned misperceptions. 

Using the beautiful tool of irony, the commission created ads depicting Nebraska locations that challenge the perceptions of anyone not living there. Think that the state is just flat? Take a trip to Toadstool Park or hike the Wildcat Hills. Think that the state is dusty? Go visit Smith Falls in Valentine or take the weekend to visit Lake McConaughy. Think that Nebraska is boring? Go tanking on one of its many rivers or bike the Cowboy Trail.

                                                                                 Photo: Nebraska Tourism Commission

Plus, the amount of media coverage has amplified inquiries from people for travel guides and has created heavy traffic on the commission’s website (meaning that I may be seeing many new faces this summer back home). The ads have received attention from outlets such as The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, The TODAY Show, various magazines, and newspapers. Such attention, according to the Lincoln Journal Star, has amassed more than $5 million in free advertising for Nebraska tourism.

                                                                                                                                Photo: Winax

Final thoughts: the new slogan for Nebraska is brutally honest and genius. It challenges the normal view of my home state  and invites the true adventure seekers to come and explore the Cornhusker state’s not-so-hidden gems. Speaking of which…

Here are some not-so-hidden Nebraskan gems close to Laramie:

  • The Wildcat Hills and Scottsbluff Monument- Scottsbluff, NE

  • Chimney Rock- Bayard, NE

  • Carhenge- Alliance, NE (my hometown!)

  • Fort Robinson State Park, Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Bed, and Toadstool Park-Crawford, NE

  • Chadron State Park- Chadron,NE

More info can be found here: https://visitnebraska.com/