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Star of the North Spring/Summer Campaign Overview

In Minnesota, the energy goes beyond the 10,000 lakes, pristine forests, lively cities and friendly towns. It rises above the cabin getaways, award-winning restaurants and the streets that raised Bob Dylan and Prince. Here, you’ll find access to the best of life, and a unique perspective on how to live it. A collective permission to push past the ordinary and celebrate the unexpected. It’s this authenticity and unabashedly grounded attitude that makes Minnesota the Star of the North.

The new Spring/Summer campaign from Explore Minnesota answers a new question: "What can I be a part of in Minnesota?" Star of the North takes an unscripted, documentary-style approach, following travelers new to the state as they are at once surprised and delighted by Minnesota and the culture they encounter.

Star of the North: Minnesota Travel Stories are longform videos (ranging from 4-8 minutes) that feature foodies from New York City, female anglers traveling from South Carolina, crafters and makers from Colorado, wellness seekers from California, and sports enthusiasts from Canada. In their journey across Minnesota, from Lake of the Woods to the Iron Range to our thriving metro scene, these travelers encounter true Minnesota character, adventure and charm. All longform videos are supported by detailed, web-based trip itineraries, plus :15 and :30 spots and gorgeous documentary-style photography for use in mass-media channels.

Beginning on March 4th, 2024, "Star of the North" will debut, bringing an authentic, optimistic Minnesota message across a multitude of platforms, including broadcast and connected TV, digital video, social media, display, and native, plus sponsorships with content partners. Our audiences can expect:

  • Broadcast TV spots in Chicago, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.
  • Digital deployment In Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as Dallas and Canadian cities Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.  

As always, diverse audiences across these targeted regions will receive additional messaging that demonstrates Minnesota is welcoming to all. We accomplish this by partnering with media vendors who are uniquely capable of reaching diverse individuals, and with content partners who have specific resonance with those audiences.

Star of the North Toolkit

Coming off of tremendous ROI results in 2023, we will bring back our highly successful niche campaigns to invite travelers to explore their passions in Minnesota. This summer, media will run nationally inviting people to discover the state via fishing, golf, or paddling.

  • Our Fishing campaign will feature video footage captured in Lake of the Woods, supported by digital banners, radio spots, content partnerships and paid social. Creative will reflect the Star of the North campaign and showcase both lake and river fishing options across the state.
  • Our Paddling campaign will feature video footage captured in the spectacular, deep mining lakes of Redhead Mountain Bike Park in Chisholm, supported by digital banners, radio spots, content partnerships and paid social. Creative will reflect the Star of the North campaign, and also feature the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, as well as our metro Chain of Lakes.
  • Our Golf campaign brings back a previous strong niche performer but showcases new footage from Baker National Golf Course in Medina, Minnesota. Supporting digital banners, radio spots, content partnerships and paid social efforts will feature highlights from the nearly 500 golf courses across the state.

Other seasonal initiatives:

  • An all-new Milwaukee Brewers Baseball partnership will include a 2-week sweepstakes, auxiliary scoreboard signage and video spots running on 400+ American Family Field in-stadium televisions.
  • Saint Paul Saints Baseball partnership "Explore Minnesota Wednesdays" will include in-stadium signage, TV & radio spots, live reads, MN Puzzlers, 1st pitch & radio interviews, travel guide distribution and more.
  • MN Aurora FC partnership will include jersey logo sponsorship, in-stadium signage, TV spots, sweepstakes and travel guide distribution.
  • Explore Minnesota takes to the skies with a new American Airlines Wi-Fi advertising in May provided by eSubstance/INK. The force play "must-watch" video campaign will extend Explore Minnesota's presence in desired key markets of Chicago, Dallas, Denver and St. Louis ahead of spring travel season. Viewers are automatically linked directly to at the completion of the video.
  • Northwestern Athletics partnership will continue with promotional assets & signage running during all Northwestern vs. Minnesota home and away games, travel guide distribution and digital ads.
  • Iowa Wild partnership will continue with a helmet logo sponsorship, radio spots, TV broadcast, in-arena signage, publication distribution, print ads, podcast and social sponsorship.
  • Other marketing partnerships include Sun Country Airlines, Mall of America, United Airlines – Hemispheres magazine, Our Wisconsin Magazine, USA Today Publications– Midwest Travel, National Travel & Milwaukee Brewers GameDay Program, Minnesota Public Radio, Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance/Minnesota Golf Association, Star Tribune and Minnesota Grown.

View the FY24 Explore Minnesota Partnerships.

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