Minnesota in a Box: To Get You to Visit, the State Will Now Visit You First

See Colle+McVoy's MNstagram booths

Take a vacation to Minnesota? Nah, it's too cold and dreary with all that snow and dreary-ness. Brrr…

To combat this common misperception, Explore Minnesota Tourism tricked out a pair of steel shipping containers for an immersive campaign that invites prospective visitors to "sample" a pair of the state's diverse attractions and share their experiences via social media.

One of the 8-by-8-by-8-foot containers—they're dubbed MNstagram booths—sports a wilderness motif that evokes the state's Boundary Waters region, complete with wispy cattails, a morning mist generator, lilting loon calls on the soundtrack, and best of all, a wooden canoe for faux-paddling.

The other container simulates Minneapolis' iconic First Avenue music club, complete with a fog machine, "bouncer," purple stage lighting (a tribute to Prince, who featured the venue in Purple Rain), and best of all, a full drum kit, allowing folks to jam along with tunes playing over the sound system.

So, what prompted this inside-the-box approach? "Committing sight unseen to a Minnesota vacation can be a tall order," says John Neerland, group creative director at Colle+McVoy, the agency behind the effort.

Hey, maybe that's because they've all read about how it snows there in July! Oh wait, that was just an ad campaign. Never mind.

Plus, "running TV is often cost-prohibitive for a state tourism agency with a finite budget," Neerland says. "We wanted to supplement our other efforts with a more hands-on, interactive, sharable and press-worthy experience."

So far, the containers have graced events in Chicago, Denver and Kansas City, generating 1.25 million total impressions, and more trips are planned later this summer.

In recent years, destination clients have frequently found fun ways to serve up shots of local flavor to would-be vacationers. Examples range from inviting folks to "Call a Swede" for the low-down on what's up in the Nordic nation, to dropping 16-foot-long, 400-pound Arizona flip-flops in parking lots (what better way to lure folks to the Grand Canyon State?).

MNstagram follows in this tradition, channeling an affable, inclusive vibe that left many container guests grinning from ear to ear in their goofy shared photos, clearly unable to contain their enthusiasm.

Hey, they're warming to the place already! Still, just to be safe, if you go, pack your mittens.

CREDITS

Client: Explore Minnesota Tourism
Agency: Colle+McVoy
Event Producer: Street Factory Media