Catch Des Moines Launches “The S’s are Silent” Campaign Targeting Visitors

Self-aware campaign uses unique video concepts to highlight specific attractions  

DES MOINES, Iowa (August 29, 2019) – Catch Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, has launched a new brand campaign called “The S’s Are Silent.” A cheeky reference to the often mispronounced Des Moines, the integrated campaign includes TV, radio, print, and digital assets, with an emphasis on sharable social and video content highlighting authentically Des Moines attractions, arts, food, and events.

“Every city says they have great food, great art, and unexpected attractions,” said Greg Edwards, President & CEO at Catch Des Moines. “So we need to be creative and innovative to create a sense of place, especially when we don’t have mountains or oceans. We wanted to show, not just tell; and we feel that this campaign does that in a way that is fun, engaging, true to our area’s personality, and with a hook no other city can claim.” 

Boasting 13.7 million visitors annually, Catch Des Moines is looking to capitalize on the area’s unprecedented growth and national buzz that has positioned the metro as a major player among its Midwest peers.

Targeting leisure travel, conventions, and sporting events, the campaign features headlines such as The S’s Are Silent. Our city is buzzing. Our fans roar. Our art is bold. Our attractions scream. Over 40 places and events across Greater Des Moines are featured throughout the campaign videos with location markers and “in the moment” imagery.

“Oftentimes in travel marketing, you see b-roll and imagery of poured wine, served food and laughing people, but it could be Anywhere, USA,” said Ben Handfelt, Vice President of Marketing at Catch Des Moines. “We wanted to create something that highlights things you can only experience here and gets people thinking ‘Oh, I have to go there and try that!’ and actually know where to go to get it.”

The decision to focus on video marketing stemmed from research indicating 60% of travelers factor viewed video content into their decision-making process, and video has a much higher retention rate than text. Handfelt says the campaign videos will fall into three categories:

  • A 30-second commercial focusing on the amplified sounds, energy, imagery, and places in Greater Des Moines contrasting silence, supplemented with 15-second spots focusing on specific themes (ex: “Our city just clicks”).
  • The S’s are Silent video series, filmed with local actor Scott Siepker (“Iowa Nice Guy”), takes a humorous look at arts & culture, food & drink, and things to do around Greater Des Moines.
  • The Des Best video series focuses on iconic and unique Des Moines things such as Steak de Burgo, the High Trestle Trail, and Raygun t-shirt store.

“This isn’t an ad campaign. This is an authenticity campaign and a rallying cry,” Handfelt said. “Being a best-kept-secret is overrated. We want to shout about our community and this campaign can really make some noise.”

The campaign will launch in leisure markets in the Midwest, including Kansas City, Omaha, and Minneapolis and will target event planners nationwide beginning September 2. To view the video assets for the campaign, visit

About Catch Des Moines

Catch Des Moines is the official destination marketing organization promoting and representing Greater Des Moines to leisure travelers and meeting/sports planners. Our focus is to increase visitors to the metro and elevate the visitor experience to drive economic success and enhance the quality of life in the 15 local Greater Des Moines communities we represent. For more information, visit