Petting, Poison, Poo: All Fair Game for Ad Campaign

NEW YORK — The Nebraska State Fair has come up with an unusual ad campaign to promote its upcoming stint in the Lincoln, Nebraska area. Unfortunately, some local residents found billboards rife with sexual innuendo and references to vomit, animal dung and dead musicians a bit too much to handle.

According to State Fair general manager John Skold, soft attendance figures and prior unenthusiastic marketing campaigns led him to guide Lincoln ad agency Swanson Russell Associates to beef up the promotion for this year’s event, running Aug. 24-Sept. 3. The result was a billboard that highlighted the fair’s zoo by encouraging people to “Engage in heavy petting,” another that explained how carnival rides were “The only place where you pay to throw up,” one that featured a shot of animal excrement and advised customers to “Wear old shoes” and a fourth that previewed musical entertainment, including Poison, Kansas, Engelbert Humperdinck and Mel Tillis, by cheerfully informing fairgoers they could “See bands you thought were dead.”

“We wanted to get some bang for the buck,” Skold said.