Intern-For-A-Day Series: Drawn To Good Old Mount Rushmore

October 19, 2010

Editor’s Note: Last month we put out an open call on our Facebook page for guest writers to tell us about their reaction to a marketing campaign or message that caught their attention. All applicants would be eligible for the Fast Horse Experience Intern-For-A-Day program.

We selected five posts for publication on Idea Peepshow. We posted the first one from one of the first interns-for-a-day, Nate Knox, a week ago. Next up in the ongoing Intern-For-A-Day series of Tuesday posts: Callie Chamberlain.

Callie will be spending her day at Fast Horse on Nov. 5. Stay tuned to see how she spent her day. But first, here’s a little about Callie:

Meet Callie Chamberlain

Callie is a senior at the University of St. Thomas, double majoring in marketing management and business communications She currently teaches math and science in the 7th through 12th grades at Washington Technology and Humboldt Senior High School.

In an amazing recent trip to Europe she hung out with Prince in Paris, jumped out of airplanes in Switzerland and sang German songs at Oktoberfest. Take that Chevy Chase.

Now, here’s Callie’s guest blog post on not Paris, Geneva or Berlin, but South Dakota:

Good Old Mount Rusmore

By Callie Chamberlain

Ever since I returned home from studying abroad and realized I’ve been almost nowhere within the states, I’ve had itchy feet.

Only recently have I begun to notice all the offers for cheap flights and hotel stays. These ads have no doubt been there all along, yet I have never noticed them because I’ve never been interested.

Aside from the repetitive ads, I’ve also begun to recognize pictures of familiar destinations and monuments. For example, I recently bought a day planner that had images of historical places in it and began to connect the pictures with ads I’d been exposed to earlier. What was one of the most prominent pictures you ask? Good old Mount Rushmore.

The integrated marketing campaigns for South Dakota, specifically, are creating semiotic relationships in my mind. I’ve noticed them disrupting my internet searches, arriving inside of coupon books and on television. The TV ad, in particular, depicts a cowboy riding a horse through mountains, American Indians dancing in traditional dress and beautiful landscape everywhere. For that specific ad, the semiotic object would be South Dakota, the sign would be the cowboy and the interpretation would be that South Dakota is a great state steeped in history and scenery that is an absolute must-see. This is reiterated again with the ending slogan stating that South Dakota offers: Great Faces and Great Places.

I’ve evaluated why I want to go to South Dakota and can’t think of anything other than Mount Rushmore. I doubt I could convince friends to take the road trip. I doubt I’d look back with satisfaction years from now, when there are so many other interesting places I’ve never been to. I prefer cement, pavement and skyscrapers. I enjoy people – and to a certain extent – even a hint of smog. I step back and again think of why I have the desire to travel to South Dakota. I realize it’s the images, catchy slogan, user-friendly website and hype (from the ads) that make me feel as though I want to go and be a part of the action too.

South Dakota’s integrated advertising stands out, whereas I would never think twice about going to North Dakota because I’ve never heard much about it. Although I realize that ND is closer, filled with similarities to that other Dakota and that I even have good friends at school there, the idea does not appeal to me in the least. South Dakota’s capitalization on a national monument and emphasis on historical aspects highlights its ‘great faces and places.’ If other states took that same formula and applied it to their department of tourism, they’d personify their state, influence the personal selection factors of travel and MAYBE even convince a city girl to think about roughing it in the great American state of… South Dakota.

Be sure to come back next Tuesday for the third post in this series.