PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Tourism and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department recently won Best in Show at the 2021 Minnies Media Innovation Awards. The winning campaign, “Hunt the Greatest,” was recognized as the most innovative media plan, competing with brands like Subaru, Coach, and Red Baron for the highest honor.

Department of Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen notes that the partnership between the two departments has been a valuable addition for the state. "We continue to be very strategic with our marketing efforts, and I’m glad it’s getting recognized here. While we don’t measure success by awards, it is really good to see our campaign recognized in such elite company. We remain open to trying new things to drive results for our state and look forward to seeing excellent returns on these investments for years to come.”

The media campaign, which included cable television commercials, targeted digital, social media & radio ads, podcast placements and a partnership with SCHEELS increased hunting-related web traffic by 55%. It also inspired nearly 18,000 people to enter a South Dakota hunt giveaway.

Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kevin Robling sees the campaign as a way to grow pheasant hunting — and habitat — for years to come. "‘Hunt the Greatest’ not only showcases South Dakota as the best place to hunt pheasants, but it inspires new audiences and outdoor families to take to the fields. Hunting is an important tradition that has enhanced South Dakota’s quality of life for generations. Our great outdoors are second to none, and we welcome everyone to start building connections and living out their stories now and in the years ahead,” said Robling.

In 2020, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks teamed up with the Department of Tourism to develop a robust strategy to market South Dakota as the best pheasant hunting destination with a key goal of increasing resident and nonresident participation the state’s world-class pheasant hunting. The partnership was spurred off Governor Kristi Noem’s Second Century Habitat Initiative, which focused on conserving South Dakota’s outdoor culture for the next generation of families.

The campaign promoted South Dakota’s pheasant hunting opportunities and the unique traditions that go with it. By expanding the target from core traditional audiences to attract new hunters, “Hunt the Greatest” helped the state’s small game license sales outperform the three-year average by nearly 5,000.

The “Hunt the Greatest” campaign is the work of the Department of Tourism, Game, Fish and Parks Department, Lawrence & Schiller (Sioux Falls and Minneapolis, Minnesota), and MMGY Global (Kansas City, Kansas).

The Minnies Awards are put on by the Minnesota Advertising Federation to recognize cutting-edge media campaigns. “Hunt the Greatest” also won a Best in Class award for Integrated Marketing Campaigns at the 2021 South Dakota Advertising Awards.



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

Nick Harrington, Communications Manager
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks
Email: [email protected]