Waking up to Missouri

It’s been many years since I worked on the Missouri Division of Tourism account, going back to my days at Kenrick Advertising.

Back then, the overall theme we developed for the state’s advertising and marketing efforts was “Wake up to Missouri.”

Our goal was simple. Get people (primarily families) both in-state and out-of-state to wake up to the wide variety of things to do here in the Show Me State. And there really is a lot to do. It’s just that after living here for a while, many of us have a tendency to take it all for granted. Wake up, people – that’s what we wanted them to do.

Over the past few days, we did a little of our own waking up to Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks as various family members experienced the following …

There was a helicopter ride, gliding over the Lake and Bagnell Dam. A visit to Bridal Cave which both surprised and delighted. An early morning wave runner ride at the base of the dam. Golf at Porto Cima, one of the finest courses I’ve ever played. We had two sunset dinners overlooking the lake, bought a few silly souvenirs and spent a fair amount of time just chilling poolside.

All in all, it was time well spent and enjoyed by all of us.

So that got me to thinking about Missouri’s current advertising and marketing efforts.

I remember how disappointed I was when our state adopted the theme line of, “Where the rivers run.”

Oh, I get it. There’s all kinds of river activity here in the great state of Missouri. But it seemed to totally neglect the three biggest tourism factors the state had going for it – St. Louis, Kansas City and the Lake of the Ozarks. Toss in Branson down in Ozark Mountain Country and you’ve got four major tourism draws that though there may be a river nearby, really aren’t focused around river activity.

The theme for Missouri these days is, “Enjoy the show.” My first impression was, “Huh?” But then, after a little more investigation, I see that Hoffman Lewis is back to following the same strategy we employed – only instead of waking people up to the wonders of the state, they’re playing off of the Show Me State nickname – and it’s true, Missouri does put on a variety of enjoyable shows. And not necessarily the theatrical kind.

After viewing some of the ‘enjoy the show’ TV commercials and print ads (http://www.visitmo.com/backstage) I think the overall effort is strong. The writing is a series of play-on-words (something that I’ve always enjoyed – both creating and viewing). The art direction of the print ads is simple and clean. The photography is very well done. The outdoor boards don’t do much for me but I won’t hold that against them. And the end logo treatment is contemporary, fresh and somehow fitting (good job by Rukus – the post production facility).

Overall, I think the folks at Hoffman Lewis have a good thing going.

There’s still plenty of summer left to get out and enjoy all that Missouri has to offer. And I’m sure that future advertising efforts will assure us that even though summer’s about to come to a close, the show will go on.

And whether you Wake Up to Missouri or Enjoy the Show, the urge to action is pretty much the same.

Wake up and enjoy it.