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Why visit South Dakota? It's better than Mars, new ad insists

South Dakota has lots of space and jobs and breathable air, so why not try it?
/ Source: TODAY

Oh, South Dakota. Most Americans have heard of you, but they just don't know very much about you.

Even Mars seems like a more attractive relocation spot — over 200,000 people recently signed up to be selected for a one-way trip to the red planet.

Well, the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development is set to change all that, if they can, with a new tongue-in-cheek ad campaign that lets potential visitors (or those looking to relocate) know that its state is awesome — much better than Mars!

Why go to Mars, the ad campaign asks. It's 141 million miles from Earth. South Dakota is closer. Plus, South Dakota has breathable air and jobs (unlike Mars)! "Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota?" the ad asks.

Clearly this is a watershed moment for South Dakota, which will finally get a visit from President Obama on May 8, making it the last state he's visited during his tenure as president. (The situation was highlighted recently by John Oliver on HBO's "Last Week Tonight.")

Morale- or tourist-boosting campaigns for cities have to walk a fine line; they want to prove they're attractive without seeming desperate. A well-aimed one like Ithaca, New York's from February (in which the website pointed people to Florida, citing a "surrender" to winter's icy grip) can be right on the nose.

But as "This American Life" noted in 2014, boosterism can go awry. Their story pointed to the unintentionally hilarious consequence of multiple cities using the same jingle to promote the unique nature of their vistas and high points. In their story, they found a company which had just changed a few lyrics in a generic tune meant to improve city pride and re-personalized it for over 100 U.S. cities.

So give South Dakota props for originality: They'd just rather you come to them, and not Mars!

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