PIERRE, S.D. • The South Dakota Department of Tourism recently gained national recognition when it received two 2020 Adrian Awards as part of a prestigious international marketing competition.

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Adrian Awards recognize travel marketing organizations for innovative sales and marketing efforts in advertising, public relations and digital marketing, according to a news release by the department on Thursday, March 11.

The Department of Tourism, in partnership with marketing agencies MMGY Global and NJF PR, won the following two 2020 Adrian Awards:

Silver: South Dakota Department of Tourism | South Dakota Shines in Virtual Visits

This award was honored for an innovative public relations program that took journalists on a virtual road trip through the state. This online experience was created during the pandemic to showcase the appeal of a road trip through South Dakota's wide-open spaces and generate national media coverage to inspire travelers to visit when the time was right for them.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Bronze: South Dakota Department of Tourism | Presidents’ Day Activation

This bronze award honored an effective, all-encompassing campaign that capitalized on the connection between Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Presidents’ Day, flipping the holiday’s usual retail sales pitches into a tourism promotion. The “Sold on South Dakota” campaign reached an audience of 17.6 million and drove nearly $2 million in hotel revenue.

“It is our department’s mission to create top-notch marketing campaigns that are not only effective, but also engaging,” said James Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism. “Even during a challenging year, our team kept pushing to tell the story of South Dakota in innovative ways. Winning two Adrian Awards demonstrates we were able to accomplish that.”

The Adrian Awards recognize the very best in marketing from all segments of the travel industry. This year's awards focus was different from years past to address the challenges of the pandemic, with a focus on best practices, innovation and community. The awards are chosen by senior industry and media experts from more than 1,500 entries.