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Nebraska’s Hilarious New ‘Not For Everyone’ Slogan Is Brutally Honest

nebraska
Courtesy of the Nebraska Tourism Commission

Self-awareness is a virtue. And in a country where James Franco is a working professor, and Oreos masquerade as poultry, a little candor is always a good thing. Fortunately, we can take cues from the state of Nebraska, which launched a new, delightfully deadpan slogan this week: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

The tragically unappreciated state, which has consistently taken last on national tourism rankings of the 50 states, just wants to be honest with you. The whole charade is a little like marketing a new sports drink to athletes as “Just a placebo!” or a new restaurant as “Fine, but dark and loud!”

The marvelously self-deprecating new campaign, revealed at a Nebraska City conference on Wednesday, is an attempt to feed the area’s decrepit tourism industry. And apparently, the state’s prior slogans (Nebraska Nice, America’s Frontier, Nebraska... The Good Life), were not doing the trick. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been a consumer of anything.

Visit Nebraska
Courtesy of the Nebraska Tourism Commission

Along with the slogan, Nebraska is debuting a number of tourist-targeted print advertisements with equally charming copy. “Famous for our flat, boring landscape,” declares one ad. “Lucky for you, there’s nothing to do here,” reads another. A third ad, spotlighting the famed local Father’s Day weekend Testicle Festival proclaims, “Festivals for everything from mud to testicles.”

“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow,” says John Ricks, the state’s tourism director. “We had to shake people up.” 

In the midst of his research for the new campaign, he reported that Nebraskans, when asked what was special about their state, would frequently reply: “there’s nothing to do, here” -- a remarkably unhelpful response. But apparently, Nebraskans are nothing if not frank.

“It’s probably more edgy than we’re used to,” Lori Paulsen, executive director of the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association told the Omaha World-Herald. And she’s not alone in the sentiment. It’s certainly a hip approach for a state that most recently appeared in national news for serving questionable Kangaroo meat in school lunches.

COURTESY OF THE NEBRASKA TOURISM COMMISSION
COURTESY OF THE NEBRASKA TOURISM COMMISSION

Along with rolling out the 2019 written ads, the state also plans to debut a series of televised commercials, the most memorable of which features a boy standing timidly in oversized glasses, backed by booming Neil deGrasse Tyson-esque narration: “Nebraska is kind of like that odd kid. Didn’t say much in school. Slightly peculiar maybe. But when you took the time to get to know him, turned out he was pretty interesting.”

It’s hard to believe Don Draper would get behind a tagline like “Turned out he was pretty interesting,” but you have to admire the sincerity.

It’s no “Live free or die,” but it’ll do.

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Eliza Dumais is honestly a news writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter.