Author Topic: Fargo Sign Doctored of Ad  (Read 2121 times)

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Offline ajekt

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Fargo Sign Doctored of Ad
« on: May 15, 2007, 01:39:59 pm »
So what do you think about this.  Personally I think it is pretty stupid and was not needed!

Fargo sign doctored for ad
Janell Cole
Forum Communications Co. - 05/15/2007

BISMARCK – A new North Dakota tourism commercial features an image that doesn’t exist.

Among the shots in the Tourism Division’s ads unveiled Monday is an old-fashioned theater sign, complete with chasing lights surrounding its name: Dakota.

It looks a lot like the Fargo Theatre sign.

In fact, it is the Fargo Theatre sign, doctored to show a different name.

“The theater shot was the Fargo Theatre that we altered for this commercial,” Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman said.

“Because we have an obligation to represent the whole state, and not just one city,” she said, “we changed the sign to read ‘Dakota’ to better represent the nightlife visitors can experience in our larger cities. Our goal has been and will continue to be ‘to showcase all of North Dakota and our unique attractions and activities’ and this decision was made to help accomplish that goal.”

Otte Coleman said no other images in the ads are altered.

Fargo Theatre Executive Director Margie Bailly did not know an adulterated image of the theater’s sign was being used in a state commercial.

“I’m disappointed because we consider ourselves a theater for the entire state, an icon for the entire state,” she said. “It’s disappointing we can’t have icons that belong to the entire state.”

Others in the state apparently disagree that “Fargo Theatre” is a statewide icon. Otte Coleman said the decision about the sign was due to reactions to last year’s printed visitors’ guide.

“In light of the negative response we got last year from several communities after featuring the Fargo Theater on the cover of the travel guide, we ‘generalized’ the sign on the Fargo Theater,” Otte Coleman said. “We felt it would benefit Fargo and the entire state more in its more generic form than to not show the theater at all.”

She would not name persons or a specific city that complained last year, but said, “It was a big deal.”

Online directories show there are at least two Dakota Theatres in North Dakota, in Crosby and Wishek. Another, Dakota Twin Theatres in Bismarck, closed several years ago.

The two new TV commercials unveiled Monday are meant for viewers outside North Dakota, including in Canada, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Both combine Western and Indian scenes with urban shopping and nightlife shots.

Nicknamed by the Tourism Division as “Never Sleep” and “Wake Up,” one invites visitors to “come to North Dakota and see why legends never sleep.” The other says, “Blaze a new trail to North Dakota (and) wake up in a land where legends never sleep.” The “Wake Up” ad includes the “Dakota” theater sign.

The ads were produced for $67,420 at Odney Advertising in Bismarck. The firm has had the Tourism Division’s contract since 2001 and developed the “Legendary” brand the state has used the past several years for its tourism marketing.

Marnie Piehl of Odney said the firm altered the Fargo Theatre image for the Tourism Division.

“Their obligation is to represent the state and we helped them,” she said.

Urban scenes in the two ads are from Grand Forks and Fargo, Otte Coleman said. They include the West Acres mall’s interior, the Doolittle’s restaurant patio, the HoDo and the Scheels’ indoor Ferris wheel in Fargo, and window shopping, a coffee shop and a hotel in Grand Forks.

None of the brief shots identify specific cities or businesses, and only those familiar with the places would recognize where they are.

The Western scenes include Medora’s Bully Pulpit golf course, rodeos and a gathering in an earth lodge at Knife River Indian Village.

Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum. She can be reached at (701) 224-0830 or

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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: Fargo Sign Doctored of Ad
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2007, 09:30:12 am »
Truth in advertising?

I figure, if the rest of the state wants to be known for its night life, the rest of the state needs to get some night life.

Offline zman

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Re: Fargo Sign Doctored of Ad
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 03:08:48 pm »
That is stupid, give me a break.

Offline zman

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Re: Fargo Sign Doctored of Ad
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2007, 03:37:28 pm »
I was reading the Forum and found an update:

Image to be removed from ad
Teri Finneman
The Forum - 05/16/2007

The North Dakota Tourism Division will delete the altered Fargo Theatre sign from its promotional advertising, the division’s director said late Tuesday.

Sara Otte Coleman, facing criticism over the decision to change the historic theater’s sign to say “Dakota” in a commercial, said the image will be replaced.

“In light of the feedback that we’ve gotten, it certainly was not our intent to mislead or offend anybody,” she said.

After unveiling new tourism ads Monday, Otte Coleman said the Fargo Theatre sign was altered because of reaction to last year’s printed visitors’ guide.

Several communities were unhappy the Fargo Theatre was featured on the cover, so the sign was generalized this year.

The new tourism ads were unveiled to the tourism industry last week in Fargo without complaint, Otte Coleman said. The negative comments didn’t start until the media publicized the issue, she said.

The commercials are meant for viewers outside North Dakota, including in Canada, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The ads have not yet aired, Otte Coleman said.

She estimates that it will cost $3,500 to remove the altered sign from the advertising and replace it with another image.

The replacement will “probably not” be the real Fargo Theatre sign, she said.

None of the brief shots in the commercials identify specific cities or businesses.

Before the retraction of the image, people expressed mixed reactions Tuesday about the “Dakota” sign.

Fargo Theatre Executive Director Margie Bailly said the theater received about 20 phone calls.

“Most of them saying, ‘Is this the Dakota Theatre?’, which I found pretty amusing,” she said.

The theater also received calls from people angry about the alteration. Bailly said she tried to calm them down.

“I think that tourism has a very tough job. I wouldn’t want that job,” she said. “You really can’t alter icons. What you need to do is celebrate them.”

Fargo City Commissioner Linda Coates had the same thoughts and called the altered sign “silliness.”

“If the point is to bring tourists into our state, for heaven’s sake, let’s celebrate the things that have gotten us national attention and the Fargo Theatre is one of them,” she said.

Sen. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck, laughed when he heard about the ad.

“That’s kind of silly,” he said, “but I’m sure it’s a great campaign.”

As a former interim tourism director for the state, Potter said he understands “the many ways” that Otte Coleman is pulled.

Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cole Carley said he was disappointed with the decision to alter the sign.

“As far as we’re concerned, either take it out or leave it the way it is,” he said. “If there’s a thing that says ‘Medora Musical,’ they don’t change it to say ‘Dakota Musical.’ It’s the name of a place.”

Although Carley disagreed with the move, he also said he understood it.

“I get a little hesitant to criticize Sara because I know what kind of pressure she’s under,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate that politics has to inject itself into everything that we do.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5560

Offline pmp6nl

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Re: Fargo Sign Doctored of Ad
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 10:57:53 pm »
Wow, interesting reaction.

Personally I am not a fan of doctoring anything, especially in situations like this.


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