As we’ve been covering for you since the original RFP was released back in August 2011, the then recently appointed face of the New Mexico Tourism Department was poised to launch a new brand of New Mexico to the world…One that perhaps would eventually lend locals the luxury of not having to explain that New Mexico is in fact a part of the continental United States, to everyone from Washington State to Timbuktu.
New Mexico may perhaps be best known as an extra terrestrial landing strip or that dusty land which one passes through en route to another destination, but brand new leadership handpicked and handsomely paid is now at the helm to “rebrand” New Mexico, USA. The rally cry chosen by our new leader in branding, State Tourism Director, Monique Jacobson, to entice the world over to make New Mexico their destination of choice: “Adventure steeped in culture.” Okay. First question, whose culture?
Next, putting the reins of representing New Mexico to the world in the hands of a Texas Co. were enough to ruffle more than just a few local feathers. When Job Creation is touted as being a top priority of the sitting administration, sending a $2M job to a neighboring, tourist destination competitor state was perplexing at best, especially taking into account the plethora of skilled ad agencies all over the home front who no doubt KNOW New Mexico.
Regularly citing a seemingly “gold standard” of criteria, that the Tourism Department herself/itself either devised or adopted, the Texas firm won out over the many locally based firms who applied, even over the few NM firms which allegedly made it into the “final round” of “scoring” despite their in-state “preferential” allowances. Vendor Inc. ultimately won the dough, and apparently unabashed contract, creative and casting control.
Herein lies either the genius or the critical downfall of a campaign that has yet to air, New Mexico is already making news; First in the few rumblings about the Texas award, then almost under the radar the contracting started to go out. Initially with the multi-state (CA, NV, TX, NM) staffed casting outfit based out of Santa Monica, CA, which sent out the campaign devised casting call…(Back to that in a hot minute).
First round of FREE ADVERTISING begins here, where in a state which had worked, and risen to world-renowned ranks as tops in film production the mighty Vendor picked California filmmakers to jet in and out of the state with their own crew to film a weather ravaged four day shoot. The story of “irked” local filmmakers and production houses went from viral to news worthy, then broadcast all around the country painting New Mexico as a state set to advertise themselves without much faith in themselves.
To today and into mañana’a news, as dictated by the aforementioned ad campaign casting specifications, we shall only be represented by the “light-skinned” and fit among us. By these standards not even the woman who is our top elected official need apply to appear in this first round of advertisements requesting that the world take a look at New Mexico as an “Adventure steeped in culture.”
Where New Mexico is already hurting in some circles as appearing steeped in gas & oil interests and enriching corporate culture (see SB9 tax veto here), we’re now a step further to the right to most, elitist/racist or just plain out of touch at best. Because unlike a feature or indie film casting call which may rely on scripted requirements for certain characters – this is destined to be a multi-million-dollar motion picture representation of our great state, broadcast to the world.
All excellent moves if subscribing to the old adage that “any press is good press”, or aiming to flagrantly fly insensitivity in the face of the majority of your product/state’s population, or if politically angling to shine a spotlight on our state leader’s already dubbed war on immigration – good show.
Click here for the adults cast as Caucasian or “light-skinned” Hispanics in the ad, as released by the contracted casting director.
This just in: Expect NM Tourism select, Vendor Inc. to be without comment on this debacle just as they seemed to be in this 2011 Super Bowl bust.
Special thanks to our media “partners” and certain “whispers in the wind” in covering these developments…
UPDATE: Vendor Inc. has issued the following statement to Gabriel Escobar of The Dallas News:
“The focus of our shoot was on showcasing to the country the many amazing experiences and adventures one can have in New Mexico. The casting call you referenced was for the role of “tourists” who could be coming from any number of states. This is the first of many spots which will feature the wide range of people who are drawn to New Mexico.”
-Tom Hollerbach, Managing Director and COO, Vendor Inc.
Perhaps they were actually making special concession in allowing local “lights” to be considered to portray the desirable white market…