NEW ULM — Tourism targeting in New Ulm, which has always made hay with the hip-replacement set, is aiming to get hipper.
A $50,000 bobblehead-centric ad campaign has been launched to pitch the city’s charms to a younger demographic.
“We do pretty well with retired folks, and that’s great. We’ll take that until the cows come home,” Convention and Visitors Bureau Manager Terry Sveine said.
But tweaking the visitor base to skew younger requires a different take on the city’s German-heritage theme. That’s because ethnic tourism doesn’t resonate with young people, Sveine said.
Enter Haberman Modern Storytellers, a Minneapolis firm selected from about 20 marketing agencies approached by the city.
The firm’s approach seeks to override New Ulm’s stuffy-and-old German stereotype with a “Germans Have More Fun” campaign (GermansHaveMoreFun.com) that makes use of social media and touts a video featuring the town’s icon ... out on the town.
In the website video, Hermann the German warrior in bobblehead form takes center stage as a sightseeing, bar-hopping boulevardier, flitting from bistro to park to golf course.
Hermann, who led a slaughter of invading Roman soldiers in 9 A.D., is now being positioned as New Ulm’s “mascot of merriment.”
And lest the video’s viewers don’t pick up on its German-is-fun message, the web page also features a photo of buxom beer-hall frauleins hoisting steins of brew.
The ad campaign was literally pitched to the public the other night, when Hermann T-shirts were tossed to fans at a St. Paul Saints baseball game.
Laura Nefs of Haberman, the ad campaign’s 29-year-old manager, said she and a colleague spent two days in New Ulm to get a handle on how to get the 25-35 crowd not only to day-trip in the city but to stay overnight.
“Our charge is to get more heads in beds,” she said. “We want to take New Ulm’s German heritage to an exciting, fun, hip level.”
The campaign will run through November. Funding for the Convention and Visitors Bureau comes from city lodging taxes.