A tourism poster in Tennessee that uses a common phrase like “missouri is a big state” to highlight the state’s scenic beauty may not have gone over well with many residents.
The poster features a man in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat standing in front of a blue-striped, blue-and-white flag with the words MISSOURI is a BIG STATE on it.
It also includes a picture of a white cowboy with a blue hat, with the word MISSOURIA IS A BIG STATE written on his head and a quote from a movie that is apparently a bit off the mark.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Tennessee tourism spokesman Mike Johnson said the poster was designed to be “fun and friendly” for the general public, but it was seen by some as offensive and a poor marketing tool.
The poster was made with “some very generic language,” he said.
The campaign has drawn criticism from people who have called the poster an insult to Missouri, which has been a favorite vacation destination for travelers from other states, including California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The state’s tourism department has said the campaign is an effort to help attract people to the state by highlighting the state and its beauty.
Johnson said the state doesn’t plan to remove the poster from its website or remove it from the campaign.
He said the advertising campaign is being used for an educational purpose, and that the posters have been posted for educational purposes as well.
In a statement to the AP, a Missouri tourism department spokesperson said the tourism department is “not aware of any plans to remove this poster from the website or any other state websites.”
A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri said it was not aware of plans to sue the state for using the slogan.
The AP has reached out to the tourism office in Missouri and the state of Tennessee for comment.