Bringing the Economy Home

How Idaho Attracts Tourists Without Big-Budget TV Ads

If you watch much television, chances are, you’ve seen ads like this one luring people to visit Michigan…

The Pure Michigan ad campaign has been one of the most successful state tourism campaigns in the U.S.  In fact, Idaho Division of Tourism director Karen Ballard says the Michigan campaign has become the poster child for the industry.

But in Idaho, where the Tourism Division’s annual budget is around $7 million, there isn’t that kind of cash to produce national television spots.  Ballard says the average state tourism budget is more like $15 million.

So instead of TV ads featuring landscape beauty shots and celebrity voice overs, Idaho puts its promotion budget mainly toward print ads. Ballard says you’ll find Visit Idaho ads in AAA and Readers’ Digest.

Plus, in the last couple of years the division has bumped up its online presence with a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, and this My ID campaign that lets users insert themselves into Idaho-themed movies. (I had to try it.)

Ballard says the division also tried something new this year by advertising on Pandora Radio, which she says seemed to be a big success.


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