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Fishing – no ice, no waiting – in North Dakota

I’ve posted before about my husband – a Minnesotan who has become one of North Dakota’s biggest promoters because of the accessible (and pretty fabulous) hunting and fishing here.  Well this guy LOVES his Missouri River.  It’s no secret that this has been the warmest winter on record in North Dakota.  Most of the state had little to no snow all season and now the daytime highs have consistently been in the 50s, 60s and even 70s from border-to-border.  So what does that have to do with my dear hubby and fishing?  As I was being informed of the boat ramps that have opened in Bismarck and Mandan he also reminded me that in some states, there’s a season opener that’s still weeks away. Here in North Dakota, our walleye/pike season never “closes” or “opens.”  And as many anglers know – that spring bite can be awesome.  HOW awesome?  Just last week a new state record lake trout was caught.

Royce Johnston of New Town reeled in the 16-pound, 6-ounce lake trout from the Garrison Dam Tailrace (on the Missouri River). The 33.5-inch fish broke the old record by more than two pounds. The previous record of 14 pounds, 4 ounces was taken from the Tailrace in 1982.

Fishing North Dakota is easy! Just visit the Game and Fish Department for licensing, waterways and boat ramps. You can also get the latest with the North Dakota Outdoors on Facebook.  Follow @OutdoorsND on Twitter for great information around the state because, not only is the fishing open, golf courses are opening too! The first we’ve heard of are Heart River in Dickinson, Pebble Creek in Bismarck and the Edgewood and Rose Creek courses in Fargo. Several others have told us that they could be opening in the coming weeks!

And if you happen to be going out tomorrow on the Missouri River – it’s expected to be 80-degrees and you can look for my hubby in a green Fisher.

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North Dakota responds to ad criticism

Frank Cooper, Chief Consumer Engagement Officer of PepsiCo once said, “You as a brand have to be completely confident about your position, because you will get criticism. You will have a negative reaction. If you didn’t get a negative reaction, that means you’re standing neutral and you have no point of view. Who wants to participate in that?”

For North Dakota Tourism, that criticism came yesterday, January 12, 2012.

On Monday the 9th, North Dakota Tourism unveiled their advertising campaign for the new year, including six new :15-second television ads and 10 new print ads.  The unveil received a great deal of attention including an AP story picked up by more than 50 online and print publications to include the Boston Globe, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Huffington Post.  The television ads are shared on YouTube and NDtourism.com and the print ads were also shared on our website and Facebook fan page.

Yesterday afternoon, one print ad started being widely shared on Facebook generating a great deal of comments – a majority of them negative.  Our first reaction was, “Wow!  Some people are just crude and watch too much reality TV.”  But as comments became, in some cases, downright offensive, we decided to remove the image from Facebook and our website.  We also became aware of blogs criticizing not just the ad but the entire state.

The media and public reaction that has followed in the past 24-hours has been a mixture of supportive, cautionary and critical.  This isn’t a canned statement – but just the honest way we feel:  This ad was intended to highlight nightlife, youthfulness and a girls-night-out in one of our city’s downtowns.  While we did not personally see the negative connotations that have since been implied, we take that feedback very seriously and are responding to it.  The ad will not run in publications as originally presented.  We are committed to promoting our vibrant city experiences and will create an ad that more accurately conveys the message we intended.

What’s most bothersome to those of us who have been involved in the creative campaign is not the fact that the ad has been attacked, but the fact that the models – who had such a fun experience at the photo shoot – have been personally bashed.  These are beautiful, REAL people who we are proud to have represent North Dakota and the fun, downtown Fargo nightlife that they truly do enjoy.  We apologize to them for the senseless and inappropriate things that people posted about them.

Here at North Dakota Tourism we aren’t “standing neutral with no point of view.”  We care passionately about North Dakota.  Criticism against the overall campaign and the state is unjustified.  We have research on our visitation, about our ad campaigns and our branding.  And the creative strategy and media buy are based on this research. According to the U.S. Travel Association, North Dakota has been outpacing the nation with increased visitor spending in seven of the past eight years.  Since the introduction of the Legendary brand 10 years ago, we’ve made great strides in showing more people the great history, culture, scenery, adventure and fun in North Dakota.  We have measured the results of our ad campaign since 2003 and the 2010 advertising  generated more than $277 million in visitor spending. This ad series works to showcase many of the experiences found here and that our visitors tell us they love.

Like Cheryl Dunning from Winnipeg, Manitoba who recently wrote us: I plan on coming back into North Dakota fairly regularly … Grand Forks is a favorite as is Fargo. I’d like to see Bismarck, Jamestown and well a lot of other places. I always find ways to have fun in North Dakota – from finding new places to eat to finding new things to take photos of. I look forward to returning time and time again to North Dakota.”

Thank you Cheryl.  We’re good enough and gosh darn it, people like us!  As travel expert and blogger Ted Sullivan wrote in his blog about Fargo – it’s quirky, unexpected and great place to visit.

Thank you to all of you sending us your tweets, posts and emails of support, like St. Paul Pioneer Press freelance writer Julie Forster who tweeted, “Yay, North Dakota! Love your ad. Can’t believe you pulled it” and Arla Jean Wood who told us on Facebook: “Fargo is a friendly college town! I really don’t see the intention of harm or insult in that ad. Downtown bars are an easy place to meet new people. That has ALWAYS been the case for me; when I was young and lived there and 10 yrs late when I go back to see friends. It’s always a fun party and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I love going home.”

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in ND in the News

 

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Where is the largest pumpkin in North Dakota?

That’s Right, its back! Come see North Dakota’s largest pumpkin at the Seventh Annual Giant Pumpkin Festival in Walhalla this Saturday. This event is complete with a giant pumpkin contest, farmers’ market, games and pumpkin carving. Experience the spirit of North Dakota’s beautiful fall season with your family at this exciting fall kick off festival.

Can you find the biggest pumpkin before Halloween? North Dakota Tourism challenges you to find it, once you do, take a picture and tell us where you found it  on our Facebook Fan Page – Travel North Dakota or share your giant pumpkin journey at RU Legendary.com. Maybe you can even find one as big as the giant pumpkin in Walhalla!

 

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