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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two State Tourism Offices Have Tongues Waggging

A couple of state tourism offices are in this week's spotlight with their advertising campaigns.

First there's New Mexico and their alien tourism ad campaign. If you're not familiar with the buzz, some New Mexico tourism officials are upset with the ugly aliens pushing the great state. (In short, the aliens decide New Mexico is the best place in the Universe to visit). The people upset about the campaign claim the ads are geared towards Gen Xers while its the Baby Boomers who have the money and time to travel.

You can check out the video for yourself (see below). I have to admit, the aliens are ugly and the commercial doesn't even mention Roswell and Area 51, but I don't find it repulsive. But then again, I'm a Gen Xer. Is the commercial going to make me want to go to New Mexico? Yeah, a little bit. The spot tells me more about New Mexico and encourages me to think about the state differently from what my preconceived notion. One things' for sure, all this buzz has to be driving interest. Check out the accompanying Web site: The Best Place in the Universe. New Mexico, Earth.




Closer to home, have you read this article in today's Tallahassee Democrat? It's certainly sparked plenty of conversation around the office. The NAACP is upset with VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation, upcoming campaign called "Shine." I've seen the campaign. It shows all sorts of happy people enjoying themselves in Florida. It's pleasant, calming and inspiring.

We live in the Sunshine State. Some of the definitions for "shine," according to Merriam-Webster include:
To emit rays of light.
To perform extremely well.
To have a bright glowing appearance.

These don't seem like negatives to me, but apparently, "shine" is a derogatory term against African Americans during the early 20th century. It's a term I've never heard of (and remember, I'm a Yankee) and asking various people in the office about the term, they don't find it offensive.

What I find more confusing is that the Tallahassee Democrat article uses the term "black" when I thought the politically correct term is "African American?" Or, is it uncool to be politically correct? Or, do the rules say it's okay to be politically correct only when it's convenient?

4 Comment(s):

Deb said...

Interesting. I love the complexities of PR. I've never heard "shine" used in that way, but I'm a Yankee too. I'm sure they focus-grouped it..... But the Aliens concept definitely felt like a choice that could be seen as anti "illegal aliens," especially since it's New Mexico. Wouldn't have been my choice!

JA Huber said...

Ironically, a friend was watching an "old" movie last week and one of the actors asked for a, "barber, manicurist and shine."

VISIT FLORIDA has since changed the campaign to the "Sunshine Campaign."

As for the illegal aliens, I thought of that, too! I hope to be meeting with some New Mexico tourism folks next month and will ask them how things are going with the campaign.

Anonymous said...

Black and African-Americans are both current & acceptable -- and interchangeable (unless you are referring to a Bahamian or a Hatian, for example, and then TONS of people still call them African-Americans (??))

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