Super Bowl ad to focus on South Dakota beyond Mount Rushmore

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PIERRE — Travel South Dakota will make its first-ever big game ad debut this year with a commercial spot reminding viewers that in addition to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, there's so much more to discover.

In a creative effort to combat this “one hit wonder” misperception, Travel South Dakota collaborated with 2000’s celebrated one-hit-wonder band Nine Days to rework their hit single “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” into a revamped “Absolutely (Story of a State),” a catchy way of touting South Dakota’s many exciting offerings.

The 30-second commercial will make its debut during the big game on Feb. 11 through broadcast, cable, and CTV live in select markets, with additional markets airing an extended 60-second cut with even more reasons to visit South Dakota. Priority markets include Denver, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; and Rapid City and Sioux Falls. The commercial will continue to run in many of the key markets into late February. 

Building upon its existing marketing campaign, “So Much South Dakota, So Little Time,” Travel South Dakota has harnessed the nostalgia associated with the band’s wildly popular song and music video, while illustrating the wonder, vast experiences, and diverse corners of the state. The remix-turned-television-commercial was developed and conceptualized in collaboration with ad agency Karsh Hagan. The team worked with the band’s original songwriter, John Hampson, to collaboratively rewrite lyrics to “Story of a State” that highlight the wonders of South Dakota. 

“The big game presents heightened opportunity to reach an engaged audience of potential travelers in target markets who oftentimes focus more attention on the tv commercials than the game itself,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. “We intend to continue to find unprecedented ways to plant South Dakota’s flag in the ground to pique curiosities and get people talking about South Dakota like never before.” 

In 2023, South Dakota’s tourism economic impact numbers hit all-time records with visitation and visitor spending. With Nine Days singing about “so much to explore, so much space” in this revamp, the commercial illustrates how South Dakota uniquely offers the increasingly rare element of surprise that complements meaningful travel through diverse, underrated and often spontaneous experiences beyond its iconic tourism attractions.

Total cost for the weeks-long media buy in the key seven markets is $1.19 million. 

More than Mount Rushmore, South Dakota boldly welcomes travelers to shed negative misconceptions, explore beyond its one-hit wonders, and embrace the undiscovered all four seasons.

The full commercial will air on game day, alongside teasers on Travel South Dakota’s social media channels leading up to the debut and a webpage dedicated to the effort. The department will continue utilizing the video content alongside their “So Much South Dakota, So Little Time,” campaign. 

For more information about Travel South Dakota, visit TravelSouthDakota.com

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Travel South Dakota and the South Dakota Arts Council. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.