Inside the Capitol

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11-30 The Aliens Are Back


Syndicated Columnist

      SANTA FE -- Oh, no. First, aliens invaded New Mexico's Rose Parade float and now they have taken over the state's tourism ad campaign.

      Suddenly aliens from outer space have become a bigger problem in New Mexico than aliens from south of the border. Inside sources tell me there is a move to declare space aliens illegal also.

      Or so it would appear from listening to those from inside and outside the tourism industry. Some are even calling for state Tourism Secretary Michael Cerletti's head.

      Actually, there is concern that Cerletti was abducted on a trip he thought was to Abu Dhabi. Possibly he was taken to the mother ship and implanted with a chip that put him under alien control.

      Sources inform me that the alien intent is to soften up earthlings by making aliens seem so commonplace that we won't give them a second thought when they come to take over.

      My impression  of the Tourism Department's alien campaign is that it is a fun, unique, imaginative way to catch the attention of a public that is inundated with television, cell phones, text messaging, blackberries and bluetooths.

   It's hard to cut through all that clutter. Other Rocky Mountain states can advertise most of the same attractions as we do. And they have much bigger advertising budgets to do it with.

   So here is a way to attract attention to New Mexico's beautiful landscapes. Put an alien in the foreground, riding a bicycle, kayaking or golfing. We not only get the point across that New Mexico is enchanting, we can claim to be the best place in the universe to visit.

   Since the railroads came in the 1880s, New Mexico has been advertising its scenery, history and cultures. And still about half the nation thinks we're a foreign country.

   It might be time to do something different. It has become embarrassing to say we are from New Mexico, USA. It's mighty unique to have a context in which we can say we are New Mexico, Earth.

   For those who complain that New Mexico's ads benefit only Roswell, you should know that Roswell is never mentioned in an ad. It doesn't have to be. The world knows that the Army Air Corps reported capturing a flying saucer at Roswell, making it Earth's UFO capital.

   In modern parlance, that is called a brand. Companies spend billions trying to establish a brand. The government unwittingly did it for Roswell -- free of charge. Roswell is beginning to cash in on that brand. And New Mexico is getting in on the act.

   And it fits. New Mexico officials have talked about branding the state as the world's commercial space capital. Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson has pledged to help with the effort. The renaming of Spaceport America is a step in that direction. Many other communities with space activity can be included in that theme.

   The alien ad campaign was managing to slip under the radar fairly well until the Rose Parade float design was released, followed by the announcement that our television ads have won a prestigious award from an international sales and marketing organization.

   But instead of bringing praise to the state Tourism Department, the award has turned up the volume of criticism, including from local tourism organizations in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and maybe other cities. Evidently they don't see enough benefit to their own communities.

   So lighten up New Mexico. No one likes a grouch. Many communities throughout the nation do quite well with light-hearted celebrations.  The Deming Duck races get more than their share of publicity because they're fun.

   Snobbery really doesn't become New Mexicans. It's time to stop the negative thinking and give the Tourism Department some credit for trying something new and different. And for having the courage to stand up to criticism much more severe than it deserves.

FRI, 11-30-07


JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505

(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



Post a Comment

<< Home