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From Bold North to True North—Explore Minnesota Unveils New Campaign

“Find Your True North” ads launch this spring to promote the state’s $15.3 billion tourism industry.

From Bold North to True North—Explore Minnesota Unveils New Campaign
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis. Photo Courtesy of The Great Northern

Minnesota’s Super Bowl may have been bold, but in 2019, the northern spirit will be marketed as true. “Find Your True North” is Explore Minnesota’s new tourism campaign, unveiled Monday at the annual state tourism conference in St. Paul.

It furthers the state’s shifting identity away from the midwest and into the “North,” a moniker that started as a grassroots movement and has grown steadily—right up to the national stage last year when Minneapolis hosted Super Bowl 52 with “Bold North” as its tagline. 

Bold North—a license now in the hands of Greater MSP, the nonprofit regional economic development partnership—continues to be used for select marketing campaigns by Cub Foods and the Minnesota Lottery, among others. Local agencies Adventure Creative and True Media encouraged Explore Minnesota to adopt “True North” as a way to celebrate every corner of the state and its $15.3 billion tourism industry.

"Skipping across the headwaters of the Mississippi with your kids. Fishing one of our 11,842 lakes. Dining at James Beard Award-winning restaurants. Travelers can experience all of these moments and more when they find their 'True North' in Minnesota," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota. "This is an exciting state and an exciting time. We're thrilled to part of a larger movement that will help differentiate and more clearly define Minnesota as the North."

The new campaign will kick off this spring with TV, print, and digital ads running across Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, and Iowa as well as Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Omaha, and Winnipeg. The campaign will also target a national audience with hyper-focused online targeting based on hiking, biking, arts, culture, and other lifestyle interests. 

The goal is to promote all aspects of Minnesota, from lakes and wilderness to museums and world-class restaurants, says Corutney S. Ries, vice president of destination branding and strategy at Meet Minneapolis, the city’s tourism board. “Exploring our museums, festivals, and diverse neighbrohoods are part of the True North, and we’re excited about the campaign’s energy.” 

The True North campaign will incorporate Explore Minnesota’s previous messaging of “Only in Minnesota” by including the #onlyinmn social media hashtag, which has been used more than 1 million times. 

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