What’s the best way to lure prospective adventure-seekers to Nevada?
Is it an image of a park ranger and the mantra “when other states restrict, we allow”?
Or is it a campaign featuring a man with a beard, images of all-terrain vehicles and a message of “we go about things our own way”?
Those were the choices that were presented Wednesday to the marketing committee of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, which got its first glimpse of spring and summer ad concepts.
Representatives of the commission’s advertising consultant, Columbus, Ohio-headquartered Fahlgren Mortine, presented the concepts and how they resonated with 800 potential travelers, half from the West and half from some of the state’s farther-away markets.
Based on tests with Millennial, Gen-X and Baby Boomer respondents, the two prospective campaigns fared well. But the campaign showing the ranger held a slight edge because it generated greater interest in visitation.
The committee recommended the park ranger imagery.
Representatives of Fahlgren Mortine and the Commission on Tourism staff stressed that the ad samples are only concepts and that the consultant would tweak images and messaging before they receive final approval.
State officials are hoping to get more feedback when the full commission meets next Wednesday. Ad production begins in March with a debut in California, Utah, Arizona and Idaho markets in the spring or early summer.
The ad campaign is part of a $4.4 million marketing plan that includes digital and social media components as well as advertising. The goal is to drive viewers to the state’s TravelNevada website and convince them to request additional information about the state.
The campaign is themed to promote Nevada as a place for adventure with the performance of “Don’t Fence Me In” by the Las Vegas band The Killers as a musical backdrop and the introduction of Nevada characters as the storytellers encouraging exploration. The campaign is a departure from traditional tourism ads that show images of Nevada landscapes.
Officials told the committee that since November, when the winter campaign began, sessions on the TravelNevada site were up 82 percent and downloads based on those visits were up 306 percent.
The fall and winter campaign that is wrapping up this month cost the state $1.7 million and the summer campaign that will run through August will cost $1.4 million.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.