Nebraska’s new tourism slogan still makes headlines. Would the runner-up have fared as well?

December 15, 2018

LINCOLN — With free publicity from the state’s new, self-deprecating tourism tagline now topping $7 million, it’s no wonder officials snubbed the runner-up slogan.

On Thursday morning, the “Live with Kelly and Ryan” show became the latest national program or publication to chat up Nebraska’s newest tourism pitch: “ Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

Since the self-deprecating and painfully honest tagline was released in October, it has generated an estimated $7.1 million in “publicity value” and reached nearly 885 million people, according to the Nebraska Tourism Commission, which selected the offbeat approach.

Guess what the Tourism Commission passed over?

“Honestly Different.”

Commission spokeswoman Erin Lenz said it was the only other tagline considered besides the “not for everyone” slogan or not using a tagline at all.

“Honestly Different,” Lenz said, was considered “too safe.”

“It sounded like marketing speak and didn’t differentiate us enough,” she said.

The latest tagline was chosen, tourism officials have said, because tourists consistently rank Nebraska as one of the states they are least likely to visit. So they needed to be shaken up, officials said, and challenged to check out the wacky kind of fun that is available in Nebraska, such as “tanking” (floating down a river in a livestock water tank) or a “testicle festival” (dining on fried animal testicles).

The “not for everyone” slogan was a big hit on “Kelly and Ryan,” and is now spawning a line of T-shirts, coffee mugs and other items produced by the Tourism Commission.

During the show Thursday, co-host Kelly Ripa told one of her guests, “Have you been to Nebraska? Because all I want to do now is take a trip to Nebraska.”

Gov. Pete Ricketts, when asked recently, said he loves the new state tourism tagline.

The governor said Nebraska needed to get edgy to stand out among the other 49 states. He said he’s already heard from one New York resident who’s booking a tanking trip in the Cornhusker State.

Ricketts said the ultimate proof of the effectiveness of the slogan will be if people actually visit the state, but it has already generated more free publicity than the state allocates for the Tourism Commission.

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