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Published July 11, 2013, 11:30 PM

AAA earns an ‘F’: Ad claims Mount Rushmore in North Dakota

FARGO – AAA travel marketers can move mountains – even the famous faces of Mount Rushmore.

By: Cali Owings, INFORUM

FARGO – AAA travel marketers can move mountains – even the famous faces of Mount Rushmore.

A recent AAA mailer for “Great American Vacations” suggests North Dakota is home to the Mount Rushmore monument.

The ad features a postcard of the Great Faces emblazoned with “North Dakota,” which provoked some heckling of the Mid-Atlantic AAA club that sent the mailing to members in Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The club isn’t expecting a thank- you note from the state for the boost in tourists, said Lon Anderson, “an embarrassed spokesman for the Mid-Atlantic AAA.”

Anderson said many AAA members had pointed out the mistake and their marketing team is “humbled by the error.” He said he didn’t see the ad before it went out and would have noticed the mistake.

The ad suggesting that the Peace Garden State is home to the chiseled presidential visages of Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington and Teddy Roosevelt will reach thousands of the club’s members in the coming days, Anderson said.

“When they come looking for Mount Rushmore, can you point them in the right direction?” he joked.

The mistake is fairly common, said Sara Otte Coleman, tourism director for North Dakota. Officials in her office field questions related to Mount Rushmore quite often.

“This just goes to show people still think of us as the Dakotas,” she said, adding that it presents an opportunity for more marketing for the state.

Most people have been good-humored about the ad, said AAA North Dakota spokesman Gene LaDoucer.

For example, State Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem posted the ad on his Facebook page, and the quips came flowing.

“I would like to thank our good friends in South Dakota for this very generous gift to North Dakota!” Stenehjem wrote in a post.

Others suggested reunification (with Bismarck as the capital, of course) or that North Dakota had purchased the monument with excess oil money.

“Obviously, those who produced the ad on the East Coast haven’t been to the Dakotas before,” LaDoucer said. “Perhaps they should be invited to have a tour of this great land.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599

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