The S’s are Silent


Catch Des Moines asked Strategic America to develop a new campaign to promote Greater Des Moines and all the fun, unexpected things to see and do in the metro.


Start with Research

Using insights from focus groups in Iowa City and Omaha, we created an authentic campaign that highlights the city’s offerings and provides a memorable, tongue-in-cheek nod to the fact that many people still don’t know how to pronounce Des Moines.

Make it Authentic

To bring this campaign to life, SA set out to capture photos of real people—not hired talent—enjoying unique Des Moines locations and events. The photoshoot spanned the entire summer and captured more than 20 locations.

SA also produced 30-second and 15-second TV spots, all featuring various locations in—and sounds of—the metro. We shot on location at the Iowa Speedway, Blank Park Zoo, Saylorville Lake, Adventureland and more.

Reach Key Prospects

To reach our target audiences and markets, we created a robust media plan that delivered more than 22 million impressions across Des Moines, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Ottumwa, Mason City, Rochester, and Sioux City. Our media plan included new markets like Kansas City and new tactics, like airport advertising, Pandora, LinkedIn, and Reddit. We Also made use of broadcast TV, display banners, paid social media and pre-roll video.


Digital Delivers

Our digital display marketing delivered 8.8 million impressions, 23,522 clicks, and an above- average click-through rate of .27%. Pre-roll video proved successful with 3 million impressions, 6.678 clicks, a click-through rate of .22%, and more than 2 million views with a 70% completed view rate. The Reddit campaign, over one month, resulted in 2,847 completed video views and 77,388 impressions.

Social Surpasses

To boost engagement with our audience, we ran contests on social media, giving away “The Ss Are Silent. Our City is Not” T-shirts to those who viewed and shared our video posts. The contest proved to be one of our most successful to date. Between the contest, paid posts, and organic posts social media followers grew. Instagram followers grew 18% over four months, surpassing 20,000 followers for the first time. Between Facebook and Instagram, 2.9 million impressions were gathered, resulting in more than 11,000 engagements.

A revamped YouTube channel for Catch Des Moines was designed to feature the “Ss Are Silent” videos and saw subscriber count increase by 73% in four months. The video page on received more than 12,000 views during the first four months of the campaign.

Media maximizes

Public relations efforts were in full force. Local influencers and media personalities were asked to share the campaign and videos, resulting in media coverage on all Des Moines TV stations, radio stations and newspapers, along with retweets from national journalists working for outlets like CNN.





Catch Des Moines Nitefall on the River Print Ad
Catch Des Moines Principal Park Print Ad
Catch Des Moines Pappajohn Sculpture Park Ad
Catch Des Moines Downtown Farmer's Market Digital Ad
Catch Des Moines Adventureland Park Digital Ad



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