Nebraska concedes that ‘honestly, it’s not for everyone’ in new tourism tagline

Potential tourists can’t say Nebraska didn’t warn them.

Nebraska’s tourism commission announced Wednesday that the tagline for its new tourism campaign is “Nebraska: Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

It’s a concession — said with quirky, self-effacing charm — that Nebraska promoters hope will highlight what the state does provide to potential vacationers: Outdoor recreation, natural beauty, an escape from the city and a connection to the West.

“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,” Deb Loseke, chair of the Nebraska Tourism Commission, said in a statement.

Nebraska’s old tagline, which the state stopped using in 2015, was “Nebraska Nice,” tourism staff said.

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But research from 2012 found that hardly anyone outside of Nebraska thought of the Cornhusker State as a travel option — with just 17 percent telling researchers they were likely to take a trip to Nebraska, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

Hoping to fix that, the new campaign will roll out in states beyond Nebraska in the spring of 2019, the Nebraska Tourism Commission said in a press release.

Advertisers tested the campaign and slogan in other states earlier this year and found that it made people more likely to visit the state, and for longer, the tourism commission said. Respondents also said they got the self-deprecating humor in “Nebraska: Honestly, it’s not for everyone,” and that the humor was one of the keys to the campaign’s success.

“The new brand platform is defined by honesty,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “The overarching concept of honesty is rooted in a mindset that values transparency, purity and simplicity. A way of embracing the not-so-obvious bits of life. We feel we’ve accomplished just that.”

One of the ads shared in the news release features large text reading: “Famous for our flat, boring landscape.”

An example of the state’s new marketing campaign, which rolls out in out-of-state markets next year. Nebraska Tourism Commission

But in the background, hikers with backpacks scramble over beautiful rock formations.

Next to the photo and text is a small blurb.

“There are two kinds of people in this world,” the blurb says. “The ones who think Nebraska is nothing more than a 77,000-square-mile cornfield, and the ones who don’t. We find that second group to be a lot more interesting, and are comforted by the knowledge that there are people willing to look deeper to discover what makes this place so special.”

One of the main goals of the campaign is to shift people’s thinking about Nebraska.

“The perception of a place to visit in people’s heads is more important than the things to see and do when you get there,” Ricks said, according to the Lincoln Star Journal. “Because, if they’re not here, they don’t get to enjoy those things. ... So we had to find a way to get people here.”

Ricks said the new tourism campaign — including development, filming and placement — will run the state about $450,000 over two or three years, the Journal Star reports. That comes out of the state’s $6.6 million tourism budget, he said.

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