BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota will again enlist the help of Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel to help promote tourism in his home state.
North Dakota’s tourism department confirmed Tuesday to The Associated Press that the star of several “Transformers” movies will be paid $175,000 to be the face of the state’s tourism campaign for the next two years. The state has had a contract with Duhamel since 2013 to help lure visitors to North Dakota.
The contract extension that expires on Dec. 31, 2021, brings to more than $1 million Duhamel has received from the state.
Duhamel is from Minot, a city in the northern part of the state that’s about an hour’s drive from the United States border with Canada.
The advertising campaign featuring Duhamel is a continuation of the North Dakota Legendary brand that was established in 2002 to help create more awareness of the state.
Although North Dakota is one of the least-visited states in the U.S., tourism is the state’s third-largest industry, behind energy and agriculture. The biggest draw is Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota’s badlands.
State Tourism Division Director Sara Otte Coleman is scheduled to unveil the new two-year advertising campaign next week, said Heather LeMoine, the agency’s marketing manager.
The previous $2.9 million campaign featured Duhamel doing everything from fishing and biking to attending college football and hockey games. Some also include his 6-year-old son Axl, whose mother is Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie. The campaign included TV and print ads, as well as travel and hunting guides.
Duhamel “has spotlighted the state that not many people know about,” LeMoine said. “It has definitely paid off.”
Ads featuring the 47-year-old actor have mostly appeared in the neighboring states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the nearby Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, LeMoine said.
“We don’t have the money to do a national campaign,” LeMoine said.
North Dakota had 22.6 million visitors in 2018, up more than 5% from the previous year, agency data show. Visitor spending totaled $3 billion that included $300 million in state and local taxes, the agency said.
LeMoine said the advertising campaign featuring Duhamel has resulted in more than $100 for every dollar in state funding spent.
The tourism industry provides about 42,000 jobs in the state, LeMoine said.
Harvey back as NFL Honors host when AP awards are announced
TV personality Steve Harvey will return as host of the NFL Honors show on Feb. 1, when The Associated Press hands out its individual league awards.
The two-hour prime-time show airing on Fox will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Harvey hosted last year’s show in Atlanta.
Harvey hosts the game show “Family Feud,” as well as a syndicated radio show. While hosting the Miss Universe pageant in 2015, he accidentally named the wrong woman as the winner during the live broadcast.
NFL Honors, which debuted in Indianapolis in 2012, is held in the Super Bowl host city the night before the AFC and NFC champions meet. The 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be introduced during the program.
Justin Bieber to launch docu-series on YouTube in January
Justin Bieber is launching a docu-series about creating his new album on YouTube, the platform where the singer originally got his start in music over a decade ago.
YouTube announced Tuesday that “Justin Bieber: Seasons” will debut Jan. 27. The 10-episode series will follow the pop star while he records his first new album since 2015. Before releasing his debut song in 2009, Bieber gained popularity from posting his performances of cover songs on YouTube.
“When I was getting started, YouTube provided me a platform and a community where I could share music, experiences and moments with my fans,” Bieber said in a statement. “It feels great to partner with YouTube for this original documentary series. I want my fans to be part of this journey.”
Bieber, 25, will release a new song, “Yummy,” on Friday. His most recent album was “Purpose,” which features the hits “Sorry,” “Love Yourself,” “What Do You Mean?” and “Where Are U Now,” a collaboration with Diplo and Skrillex which won Bieber his first-ever Grammy Award.
YouTube says the series will “feature a behind-the-scenes look at Bieber’s private life, including never-before-seen footage of his wedding to Hailey Bieber and his day-to-day alongside those in his inner circle.” The series will also show Bieber reflecting “on the highs and lows of growing up in the public eye as he invites his fans on the journey leading up to the release of the highly-anticipated and most personal album of his career.”