The Minnesota Department of Tourism in May launched a series of television ads to run in locales such as Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; LaCrosse and Eau Claire, Wis., and Sioux Falls and Fargo, N.D., as well as within the state of Minnesota. The television commercials depict people at work pretending they're on a "real" vacation.
"People will be traveling closer to home this year," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, in a statement. "So we're focusing our advertising in nearby markets. This has been a stressful year, and many people will be eager to get away from it all for a while."
One ad shows a boy and his father in a tent lit by the flickering glow of a fire. "The crickets sure are loud tonight," the father says in response to a chirping noise. The noise is revealed to be a fax machine, the fire is on the man's laptop and the tent is in an office cubicle. "There's no substitute for a great Minnesota vacation," says a voiceover as the scene switches to a real campsite. Another commercial depicts a man making motorboat noises while pulling another man on an office chair -- like a water skier -- through a maze of office cubicles.
The state is also running print ads in magazines such as Midwest Living, the Redbook Travel Guide and O, the Oprah Magazine. The state is also offering license plates with ExploreMinnesota.com on them.
In conjunction with the ads' themes, Explore Minnesota is also conducting an "I'd Rather Be on Vacation" sweepstakes through which travelers can register to win Minnesota travel packages as prizes.
In April, the state partnered with Southwest Airlines to promote tourism in conjunction with the airline's launch of service between Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul.