Another year, another North Dakota State Fair has come and gone. We hope we saw you there. Those corn dogs weren’t going to eat themselves. 2016 was a successful year for the Fair and the Fair’s marketing program. So, as a wrap-up to this year’s festivities, we thought we’d deliver our State of the ND State Fair Address. Just a spoiler: the state of the ND State Fair is strong.
The obvious highlight of the year was the entertainment lineup. Both rock headliners were strong, with KISS and Fall Out Boy bringing in big audiences. The country lineup also delivered, with Kenny Chesney, Jake Owen, Billy Currington, Old Dominion and LoCash. You were able to see all of those great country acts with the Showpass, which included the monster trucks show for the first time. Also for the first time, Budweiser sponsored the Fair and delivered the Budweiser Clydesdales. And a Tiny House that was featured on the HGTV show, “Tiny House, Big Living” was a big draw this year. Summarizing, there was a “little” bit of everything to see at the Fair this year. See what we did there? Good.
The food was, as usual, a big attraction. New additions included the Taste of Italy booth, where meatball subs, grinders and pasta plates were served. The Little Blue Elephant was on hand, with sushi and other Thai entrees. And the Corner Café Crepe Stand served up crepes with both meat and fruit fillings for hungry Fairgoers. If you missed any of that, it’s your stomach you should be apologizing to.
As for the marketing, this year the Fair featured a new look in their advertising, on social media and the website. The Fair really liked last year’s design, with its bright colors and lights, so this year’s look paid homage to last year’s, while incorporating a new color scheme of purple and bluish pink. The look was meant to be more appealing to a younger demographic and was strong enough to carry through the entire campaign, with style even.
For radio, ads were placed in multiple North Dakota and Canadian markets. We also placed ads on Pandora. TV ads were placed on both broadcast and cable TV for mostly the western part of North Dakota. We placed this year’s general ad on Screenvision, a cinema vendor which played our ads at Carmike Theaters in Bismarck, Minot and Devils Lake this summer.
Print ads included a variety of North Dakota and Canadian newspapers, as well as multiple publications such as ND Living, Northern Sentry and Bismarck Magazine. We placed outdoor ads in multiple ND and Canadian markets using both print and digital billboards.
Online ads were placed on local websites such as bismarcktribune.com, willistonherald.com, bismanonline.com and brandonsun.com, which included home page exclusive and takeover ads that filled the visitor’s browser window. We’re very sorry about that. We placed YouTube and other pre-roll video ads. Text ads and display ads were targeted towards users by their interests, locations and website traffic.
For social media, we promoted the Fair on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using a combination of boosted posts and sponsored clicks-to-website ads. A unique new approach this year was the usage of memes that were posted to Facebook on the Fair’s Facebook page. We also created social media exclusive videos to be used to get people hyped up about the Fair.
And now the State Fair is complete for another year, and we’re sort of sad about it because it’s over, but amped because we can start getting ready for next year’s Fair. Considering all the new things we got to try out this year, we can only imagine what fun we’ll get to have in 2017. Until then, we’ll just have to make our own corn dogs and wait patiently.
Thanks to everyone who attended the 2016 North Dakota State Fair, and we look forward to seeing you next year.
North Dakota State Fair 2016 ads: