Three Colorado-based marketing agencies have been tasked with helping to increase the tourism draw for Nebraska.Poor Nebraska. Either you've got it or you don't. I can say this because my family hails from Nebraska, and I know from experience that it's a great, solid place to live -- "The Good Life," as their welcome sign says. But to visit? Nebraska is quite lackluster as vacation destinations go -- especially when put up against its mountainous neighbors Colorado and Wyoming. So, the Nebraska Tourism Commission has tapped three Colorado agencies to come to its aid, including Vladimir Jones (for advertising and media), Miles Partnership (for publishing and content for multimedia), and Turner (for public relations and social media). They were chosen out of 12 applicants that competed for the job, including five marketing companies based in Nebraska. Unfortunately for those in-state agencies, the Tourism Commission felt like they needed some outside help -- a bit of a punch in the gut for their resident Nebraska talent.
But Nebraska has ranked 50th out of states people are interested in visiting, according to The Lincoln Journal Star, and mainly because people don't know anything about it. But Vladimir Jones is undaunted.
The slate is clean," Meredith Vaughan, the agency's CEO, said. "You have the opportunity to shape consumer perceptions based on what is real and meaningful, and not have to change anything that is necessarily negative."So what does Nebraska have going for it? Well, if you're into pioneer history and want to re-live your 1980s "Oregon Trail" computer game experiences, you could head to Scottsbluff and Bayard (just three and a half hours northeast of Denver) to walk the path of the real Oregon Trail itself and visit the famous Chimney Rock landmark that early settlers (dealing with dysentery and typhoid fever, you remember) hoped they'd live to see. That's actually a pretty cool thing. [caption id="attachment_27576" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Lake McConaughy, image courtesy of go-nebraska[/caption] Lake McConaughy in Ogallala is a popular boating and water-skiing destination in the region, and on the far-eastern side of the state, Omaha -- the largest city -- actually has a ton going for it. It just needs better marketing, for sure. All said, though, nothing can compare to Colorado's majestic mountains and crisp, clean air. The new marketing agencies can certainly capitalize on what Nebraska does have, but the state will just never be able to compare with its neighbors to the west when it comes to top tourist spots. So what do you think? Is selling Nebraska to vacationers a losing battle? Have you been there? What are your favorite or least-favorite things about the state? What angle could marketing agencies take to draw people in? Weigh in below, and let's get the conversation started!