South Dakota wants you to know that it's a hospitable place to live. More specifically, that it's more hospitable than outer space. "Why die on Mars, when you can live in South Dakota?" is the leading theme of the state's new ad campaign from the governor's Office of Economic Development.
The campaign, which is geared to draw a younger crowd to the state, was conceptualized after a member of a focus group called South Dakota "a barren wasteland." So instead of highlighting a lack of income tax, the state decided to draw attention to something the state does have that a true barren wasteland does not: oxygen.
The voice over from the ad reads:
Mars. The air: not breathable. The surface: cold and barren. But thousands are lining up for a chance to go and never come back.
South Dakota. Progressive. Productive. And abundant in oxygen. Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota?
South Dakota: You can live here.
The young people that the campaign is targeting "are saturated with media," says Mary Lehecka Nelson, director of marketing for the Governor's Office of Economic Development in a report from the Argus Leader. "Something needed to hook them, and we know that demographic spends a lot of time talking about trending topics." But while it's trendy now, the state says it will know when to move on to the next hot topic. "We think the Mars thing is right now," says economic development commissioner Pat Costello in the same report. "Once this runs its course, we'll hitch our message to the next wagon."