MINNEAPOLIS – Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard the last of the term “Bold North.”
The slogan adopted for Minnesota’s Super Bowl is getting high marks for turning a perceived Minnesota weakness (the cold) into a strength.
“The goal was to change people's views or reinforce a positive view of this state,” said Richard Davis, chair of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
Davis said the committee decided early on to look at the Super Bowl as an opportunity to redefine public perceptions of Minnesota.
“There's a West Coast, there's an Eastern Seaboard, there's a Deep South, but there's no North in this country and we all thought this would be good place to take ‘bold’ and ‘north,’ put it together and let Minnesota be considered the center.”
Sunday’s NBC Super Bowl pregame programming was just one place the branding effort seemed to stick.
Several segments featured Minnesotans and visiting celebrities enjoying the outdoors in subzero weather.
Erik Dayton, co-owner of the North-themed Askov Finlayson clothing line, could not have asked for more.
Dayton was an early proponent of rebranding Minnesota as the center of the North, rather than a northern state in the broader Midwest.
“We started with 150 hats in 2013 and it was really just a way of testing the idea,” said Dayton in his North Loop store, surrounded by “North” embroidered caps and hats.
He was delighted by both Minnesota’s Super Bowl’s branding and the public’s reaction to it.
Concerts on Nicollet Mall and other outdoor events were well attended, despite temperatures that dipped at times below zero.
“You can't find this anywhere else in the county and we need to lead with that as a signature strength rather than thinking it's a liability we have to apologize for,” Dayton said.
John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota, said it will take some time to measure increased convention and vacation travel due to the Super Bowl, but he’s pleased with both the volume and tone of the messaging in traditional and social media.
“I don't have the advertising budget that I can get that brand message out the way that we did for something like this,” Edman said. “And we want to continue to tell that story for many years to come.”