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New Tourism Ads Show ‘True’ N.M.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The state Tourism Department wanted to stay “true” to New Mexico in its new $2 million ad campaign developed by Austin, Texas-based Vendor Inc.

So “New Mexico True” — the new promotion and slogan for the state’s Tourism Department — was born. (View video ads below)

Digital, TV and print spots of “New Mexico True” that highlight adventure, authenticity and activities you can do in the state launch this morning in Texas, Arizona and Colorado, the state’s regional drive market.

“We wanted to be sure when you watched these it couldn’t be any other state and we really feel it does a good job of bringing that to life,” Monique Jacobson, tourism secretary, said during a recent meeting with the Journal’s editorial board.

“Things that are just an activity somewhere else … in New Mexico are true experiences because they are immersed in the landscape; the culture; the people. … We wanted to bring to life the feeling you get from a New Mexico vacation.”

The ads shown to the Journal focused on outdoor, shopping, culinary and cultural experiences around the state for couples and families. All end with “New Mexico True.”

The department, which came under fire for selecting an out-of-state firm, pointed out that the cast members are New Mexicans, the photos were taken in New Mexico and digital spots were filmed in New Mexico.

The campaign promotes summer travel here and cost $350,000 to produce. A California company filmed the ads.

The campaign is designed to appeal to a “psychographic” group — “people with an adventurous spirit and thirst for authenticity” — rather than a specific demographic, she said.

“It’s these people who really appreciate that sense of adventure and that authenticity,” Jacobson said. “We keep coming back to that word authenticity. It’s something that differentiates us from a lot of vacations.”

Vendor Inc. was chosen by the department in January to develop the campaign. The company’s bid included a 13 percent retainer, leaving the rest of the $2 million contract for media buys.

“We are happy with how it turned out,” Tom Hollerbach, managing director and COO of Vendor Inc., said Monday. “We think it really played to what the research had told us and we really found a way to show there is a lot to do in New Mexico, that it’s a fun place to go and it really combats the negative perception about New Mexico that we heard about in the research.”

The department said last year that focus group samplings of travelers from Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles and even Albuquerque, described the state of New Mexico in the following ways: “boring;” a “desert wasteland” where “there is not a lot to do”; “artsy” — which is appealing “you know for an hour”; “is the lost state” that many travelers drive through to get to neighboring states; does not offer skiing but does have “beaches”; and apparently includes El Paso.

The Tourism Department also has redesigned its website,, to feature “New Mexico True” along with the campaign. The website is easier to navigate, offers trip planning, features more compelling photography and incorporates New Mexico Magazine, the department said.

Travelers will eventually be able to book trips through the site.

The department is planning a return-on-investment study to track the effectiveness of the promotion. The survey-based study will track trips taken in April through September by travelers who saw “New Mexico True” ads.

The department is in the process of negotiating the cost of the study with Longwoods. The department is also planning a longer-term economic impact study that will cost $48,000.

The campaign soon will expand to other national and niche markets.

“With all of this we believe it’s really the right first strong step,” Jacobson said. “But what is beautiful about it, we think, is it’s a foundation for growing what we keep calling a strong magnetic brand.”

— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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