Nevada ad campaign to reprise Western song ‘Don’t Fence Me In’

A rocked-up version of an old cowboy song is the soundtrack for Nevada’s newest advertising campaign.

But somebody may have to explain to the millennials the program is directed to — and maybe other members of the general population — what a “cayuse” is.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism on Wednesday unanimously approved the new $4.4 million campaign that uses the Cole Porter song, “Don’t Fence Me In,” sung by the Las Vegas rock band The Killers.

The campaign is a departure from traditional state tourism advertising. Instead of showing images of Nevada attractions like the Strip and Lake Tahoe, the action will focus on Nevada characters and their adventures in the state. The ad’s tagline encourages visitors “to go home with more stories than souvenirs.”

The initial ads were shot at the Pioneer Saloon at Goodsprings and in Genoa in Northern Nevada.

The fall-winter kickoff that runs through February will cost $1.7 million, while the related summer campaign that will run through August will cost $1.4 million.

The ads are designed to generate curiosity among viewers who will be able to follow the characters when they follow the Travel Nevada website, which will have biographies of the players and a place for travelers to post their own Nevada adventures.

Jennifer Griswold, research manager for TravelNevada, hit the highlights of a 154-page report explaining how the company will measure the effectiveness of the campaign.

She said the last Nevada campaign to use “Don’t Fence Me In,” which debuted in 2013, scored favorably with viewers because they liked the song and learned some things they didn’t previously know — like there’s abundant winter sports in Nevada in the Lake Tahoe area. Commissioners agreed there was awareness work to be done, since most identify Lake Tahoe and its resorts with California, even though the top resort properties are on the Nevada side of the state line.

Griswold said Nevada scored second only to California for the effectiveness of ad campaigns among states in the West.

Tourism Director Claudia Vecchio said the campaign is designed more to attract new tourists than to reinforce the state’s popularity with frequent visitors. That’s why the campaign is a nod to millennials, who lean more to experiences than places.

Commissioner Rossi Ralenkotter, who has had his own advertising successes overseeing Las Vegas’ “What happens here, stays here” campaign, said he liked the ads and believes they will cut through the clutter of traditional tourism advertising.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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