Don’t Have a Cow

Remember the good old days at the Nebraska State Fair, when frolicking couples shared a laugh and a corn dog and the warm, gentle breeze carried the unmistakable scent of … sex, vomit and dung?

Lincoln agency Swanson Russell does, or so it would seem, judging from its cartoony new ads. “Engage in heavy petting,” advises one, with a silhouette of a cow. “The only place where you pay to throw up,” reads another, touting carnival rides. “Wear old shoes,” says a third, warning of vile animal droppings. The lines seem tame enough, but they’ve rankled some Lincolnites. One complained to the AP: “My kids see enough things on TV that I can’t control. I shouldn’t have to cover their eyes for a state fair ad.”

SR managing director Dave Hansen says the e-mails are flying in and 80 percent of them are positive. He’s also received requests for T-shirts from places as far away as Vancouver and even Holland—where, Hansen speculates, they “probably have tulip festivals,” not state fairs.

Hansen says budget cuts meant the ads had to be punchier and “work harder” to recapture the fair-attendance levels of yesteryear.