PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Tourism was again recognized for its 2020 marketing efforts, this time winning a Gold Telly Award for its one-minute “Great Places Are Waiting” online commercial.

The video spot was the department’s first major marketing message after COVID-19 shut down many states and brought domestic & international travel to a halt. The ad encouraged viewers to “Wait for normal, in times that are anything but.” It ended with a hopeful message: “that great places are waiting for when the time is right to travel.”

South Dakota Department of Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen says the award shows his team’s ability to adjust on the fly and stay top-of-mind with potential visitors at a time when they couldn’t go anywhere, but were still wanting to be inspired about future travel. “Last spring was an anxious time with lots of unanswered questions before us. –With this video, we wanted to share that there were things we could all still look forward to. We wanted to share a message of hope.”

Secretary Hagen went on: “I’ve heard countless stories about our friends and partners around the state rising to the challenge COVID presented. It wasn’t easy. But I think about how far we’ve come, and I think about our great support around the state, and how truly the tourism industry represented the great faces and great places of South Dakota.”

The Gold Telly Award was awarded for the “Online Commercials: Travel/Tourism” category. Other gold winners in this category include Miami, Milwaukee and Baltimore.

The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all screens. The competition was founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials, with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James Hagen.


Media Notes: If you wish to review creative files available for download for media use, please email Katlyn Svendsen to request. You can also see the award entry here.


Katlyn Svendsen, Global Media & Public Relations Director
South Dakota Department of Tourism
Phone: 605-773-3301
Email: [email protected]