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North Dakota tries to market itself as hookup haven, fails

NoDak: Not exactly known for its nightlife.
NoDak: Not exactly known for its nightlife.

Earlier this week, North Dakota's tourism department spent a couple days trying to market the state as a Las Vegas-style hookup destination.

That went over about as well as anyone who has spent five minutes in Fargo would imagine. Within 48 hours the ad, which was meant to run in newspapers and magazines throughout the upper Midwest, disappeared.

Fortunately for those of us who like to laugh and snicker, the ad has been preserved in the fossil record, despite the tourism department's best effort to eliminate any trace of its entertainingly bad idea.

Here it is:

North Dakota tries to market itself as hookup haven, fails

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Apparently, for these fellas, a legendary evening begins by finishing off beers and making a pass at the young ladies suggestively smiling at them while enjoying a night on the town in one of North Dakota's thriving metropolitan areas.

That seems clear enough, but one question remains -- with three gals and two guys, how will the flirtation game proceed? Maybe one of the dudes will end up with a lady for each arm? Now that'd be the stuff of legend.

Anyway, backlash against the ad was fast and furious. A report from the Inforum of Fargo-Moorhead shared some of the social media reaction:

Among the Facebook comments seen before the ad was abruptly deleted:

"This is actually really sickening," Anna Cioffi said.

"Welcome to North Dakota: We Put Out (the Welcome Mat)," commented Mike Natale.

"The marketing department who created this ad should be shot ... with a dose of decency and class," said Audra Highley.

The ad was savaged by Maggie Koerth-Baker, a contributor to Boing Boing, who characterized the ad as sleaze "designed by people who have no idea what sleaze is supposed to look like." She writes :

Somehow, North Dakota has managed to create a tourism ad that is simultaneously offensively sleazy and desperately uncool. It's trying to make a wink-wink, "women are objects" lad mag joke. But it looks like your really dorky, incredibly square uncle's idea of a wink-wink, "women are objects" lad mag joke.

The ad was removed from the tourism department's Facebook page yesterday afternoon. Shortly thereafter, Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota's tourism department, told the Inforum that the ad was removed because "it was going pretty negative."

But instead of apologizing for the ad's ill-conceived come-here-and-maybe-get-laid message, she actually took a dig at the haters.

"Clearly people have way more time on their hands and watch a lot more reality TV and 'Jersey Shore' than I do, because I certainly didn't read any of that," she told the Inforum.

"Dinner, drinks, decisions"? Maybe next time, they'll go with "What happens in Fargo... stays in Fargo."


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