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Nebraska City

The town so great they built a state around it

Nebraska City has a lot of things going for it. It’s Nebraska’s oldest town; the home of several apple orchards, vineyards and museums; and the epicenter of Arbor Day. Unfortunately, when it came to marketing and branding, the 160-year-old town was about 159 years behind the times. The blossom, to ruthlessly pummel a metaphor, had long since fallen from the apple tree.

Bringing new life to our state’s founding town began with creating a tag line that mirrored the history and heart of Nebraska City’s story – red to the core. From there, a new logo, website and ad campaign (digital, print and outdoor) quickly followed. As did the closing of a major road into town that remained blockaded by orange barrels for nearly four and a half months, forcing Omaha residents to take an alternate route. Although, as you can see by the style and tone of our campaign, we had no fears when it came to helping others take the road less traveled.


Website traffic was substantial, averaging 800 – 1,000 visitors/day during off-peak weeks, and spiking at 7,500/day during AppleJack. Despite the closing of Highway 75, visitor counts were up (the AppleJack festival alone saw attendance grow by 50% to 120,000), and sales tax revenue increased 9.9% year-over-year April through August. Anecdotally, residents said they hadn’t seen the downtown so busy in years, and with younger families to boot.