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Aberdeen Touts Liberal Government Programs Making Life Better for “New” Residents

Aberdeen’s new website encouraging workers to move here bears the stamp of new Mayor Travis Schaunaman’s aesthetic sensibilities:

Aberdeen "The Right Move" website banner, screen cap 2019.08.10.
Aberdeen “The Right Move” website banner, screen cap 2019.08.10.

Stone, brick, and darn few trees—that’s Mayor Schaunaman’s Aberdeen!

I wonder, though: does this website suggest that Aberdeen’s new conservative leadership will chop off children’s heads? Is the castle-and-knight imagery meant to harken to the comfort Aberdonians take in imagining themselves as Trumpistanis safe behind a great wall?

Our tax dollars built this marketing website: my local paper tells me that the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce paid for this website “using city marketing funds.” Those tax dollars appear to have gone to Elm Digital Marketing, whose website still hosts the marketing materials, and which touts other public investments that make Aberdeen great:

Aberdeen "The Right Move" website, screen cap 2019.08.10.
Aberdeen “The Right Move” website, screen cap 2019.08.10.

New library and aquatic center—both brought to you by tax dollars. Yay, government, right, Mayor Schuanaman?

But hold a couple phones—where’s this happy Aberdeen quote coming from? It’s labeled “What New Residents Say,” but Josh Latterell moved here in 1998.

Much as I enjoy Elm Digital Marketing’s subtle reminder of the local sociology that invites folks to move here but still considers them new in town after two decades, I have to ask: we pay for a really cool marketing campaign, and instead of going out to find a quote from an actual new resident, they chose to spotlight a quote from the owner of the firm being paid to say such things? Um… authenticity much?


  1. David Newquist 2019-08-10 10:56

    This campaign seems to follow the Trump business philosophy: make things up and hope the people are too mentally numb or intimidated by the “entrepreneurs” to know or care. Aberdeen led the state into the glorious days of EB-5. Now it vies for ranking as No. 1 in dishonesty in advertising, and we are now assured that there will be no regulation against such business fraud.

  2. Porter Lansing 2019-08-10 13:45

    Do you mean, “move here bears” or “move here, bears”? :0)

  3. Kennedy 2019-08-10 16:57

    I fully agree that the quote(s) should be taken from people that have “recently” moved here. Aberdeen does currently hold a high ranking for, “small towns to start a small business in”. Aberdeen, SD did make the top 10 in ‘The Small Business Revolution’ season 3, out of 30,000 entries. It was also listed in other news journals within the last year, “best cities to start a small business”.
    Our community has incredible public schools and services for those with disabilities. In comparison to the nation’s leading states & districts, speaking from personal experience, our standards are much higher!
    There are MANY hidden treasures in this community, you just need to seek them out!
    I absolutely despise the winter here, but considering everything that is going on in our country, I’ll put up with the cold!

  4. Porter Lansing 2019-08-10 17:19

    By 2060, the Muslim population is predicted to grow by 70 percent because births will far surpass deaths within the faith community, Pew reported. If these calculations hold up, Muslims will comprise nearly one-third (31 percent) of the world’s population and be within one percentage point of the previously dominant Christian community.
    Hey, Aberdeen? How about a marketing push towards this future resource. Maybe,
    ‎با توجه به رفتن به “ابردين داکوتاي جنوبي ؟ آبردين جاي عالي براي پرورش دادن حرفه ، تجارت تشکيل ميدهد يا تشکيل خانواده ميدهد
    (Nice to see Elm uses your Oxford comma. )

  5. grudznick 2019-08-10 19:05

    Is that Latterell fellow the same as the Latterell fellow in the legislatures? Why is not Mr. Novstrup, the elder, who is Aberdeen’s most famous living Aberdeenite, not discussed in this program?

  6. Debbo 2019-08-10 23:16

    It would be good for Aberdeen to have an influx of new residents, new ideas, new creativity, etc. New blood to stretch out the tight hold of the “This is the way we’ve always done it,” folks is a plus for any burg.

  7. Debbo 2019-08-10 23:18

    I don’t think having that kids head chopped off is very good placement. I’d rather see a park, a stream, a community activity. That image looks barren and austere, not very welcoming.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-08-11 10:18

    No, Grudz, Isaac is in the Legislature. Josh is, I believe, Isaac’s brother, who has stayed here in Aberdeen with much of the rest of the Latterell clan since their apparent move from the People’s Socialist Republican of Minnesota. Isaac was banished after his failure to properly cheer the NSU Wolves and the local GOP leadership.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-08-11 10:24

    Debbo, you’re right: the kid’s smiling face would have been the best part of this image. Here’s the picture without the e-mail harvest button:

    cropped image from Aberdeen The Right Move campaign

    The image shows mom right behind happy little boy. Mom seems a bit crowded in the picture, which makes me think I’d have looked for a better picture, but leaving her in, showing the parent-worker we’re trying to recruit along with a little boy blissfully enjoying the best Aberdeen has to offer, is better that chopping his head off and blotting her out completely, both graphically and message-wise.

    Even beyond my reach for whiffs of Schaunamanian Trumpism, I agree the frontal symmetrical shot of the castle and the knights is too austere.

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