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Tag: New Mexico Tourism

New Mexico to the WORLD via TX, CO, AZ

Posted by on April 17, 2012 | 4 comments

YOUR tax dollars at work NEW MEXICO:

The New Mexico Tourism Department has unveiled this multi-media video, now airing on television in Colorado Springs, CO; Tucson, AZ; El Paso, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa and Amarillo, TX, and unleashed on NM’s Own revamped NM Tourism website, here.

In addition to the video, print ads from the campaign will be placed in Southwest Airlines’ Spirit in-flight magazine, Texas Monthly, Budget Travel and in NM Tourism’s own publication, New Mexico Magazine.

The entire project from bid to post-production has drawn criticism, including our own here, here, here, here and here.

As part of the launch of the much maligned production, New Mexico Tourism Director Monique Jacobson is back in the justification and explanation seat, offering the following translation of the campaign’s target and intent.

NM Tourism Director, Monique Jacobson to The Albuquerque Journal:

The campaign is designed to appeal to a “psychographic” group — “people with an adventurous spirit and thirst for authenticity”

NM Tourism Director, Monique Jacobson to The Santa Fe New Mexican:

“A hard sell wouldn’t work with this audience…This particular target tends to be higher income…They are people who will choose to spend money on travel.”

Despite assertions by Jacobson below, that “this is just the first of many spots”, Veronica Valencia, director of marketing for the Tourism Department breaks down how the bulk of $2M budget has already been spent:

Vendor Inc. cost $275,000 in fees.

Production of all the ads cost $350,000. Production is a broad term that applies to everything from scouting sites, hiring talent and filming the ads to producing the music that goes along with the ads as well as drawing up the print and billboard ads, according to Valencia.

More than $1.2 million went toward purchasing media buys on TV, print, digital and billboards in the targeted communities.

$100,000 was paid in gross receipts taxes.

What do you think of the finished product?

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New Mexico Tourism to make amends with Local Film & Culture

Posted by on March 22, 2012 | 2 comments

On the long and winding road of missteps, wherein New Mexico industries and the very fiber of our cultural make-up as New Mexicans had first been underutilized then flatly insulted, a path to amends is taking shape.

This week New Mexico Film workers business agent, Jon Hendry had a successful meeting with the Governor’s cabinet members in regards to their handling and handing out of the state’s multi-million dollar ad campaign, which has recently grabbed some unflattering national and international attention due to the Tourism Department’s casting gaffe.

Tops in priority to many are bridging the gap between the high dollar, high visibility contract utilizing local trades, businesses and people, for this all important media package set to launch beginning next month with the goal of showcasing New Mexico to the world.

As forwarded to OHI from the office of IATSE 480 Business Agent, Jon Hendry to locals in film; the status of New Mexico Film, New Mexico Tourism, and New Mexicans going forward together stands as follows:

I just met with Cabinet Secretary of Tourism Monique Jacobsen, the Director of Tourism Development, and the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff on the outsourcing of crew on the recent tourism commercial.

I feel we had a frank and open discussion of our positions. I believe the Department and the Governor’s office now know that this is something that should not have occurred. I also believe that they are willing to make every effort to prevent this from occurring in the future.

We discussed three things which I think will be positive steps forward.
1. We will work together to ensure that as many New Mexicans as possible work on these projects in the future.
2. We will work to form an advisory group of people from around the state to assist in achieving that goal.
3. We will jointly create a promotion to showcase New Mexicans’ own stories.

I strongly believe this meeting was a positive first step. Everyone in attendance took this matter seriously. I’m making a commitment to the NM production community that I will do everything that I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The Governor’s office and the Tourism Department will work with us all to make sure as well.

Having said that, the recent commercial is in the can; continuing to gripe and complain about it, while therapeutic, does not help. We’re all New Mexicans here regardless of what side of the fence we sit on, where we originally came from, or what we look like. Our goal should be to promote jobs through sustainable and respectful tourism. I know a number of you told me earlier you’re willing to work with me on this and I will hold you to it.

Jon Hendry
Business Agent
IATSE Local 480

UPDATES TO FOLLOW

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Slovenly Acts of NM Tourism or E̶v̶i̶l̶ Genius?

Posted by on March 16, 2012 | 4 comments

Latest: Tourism Secretary Answers | DPNM Reaction | Dept. of Tourism Response | CBS NEWS | The Associated Press | The Santa Fe New Mexican

Don’t cry, kids decorate pics like this all the time…the software comes on their “baby iPads”.

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.

So, as the statement(s) would suggest, we’ve got it all wrong. The cast are not New Mexicans, they are tourists. Caucasian or “light-skinned” Hispanic tourists.

Perhaps they were actually making special concession in allowing local “lights” to be considered to portray the desirable white market…

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New Mexico to the World

Posted by on March 12, 2012 | 4 comments

UPDATE 3/15/12: NOW ON KRQE | Santa Fe New Mexican | ABQ Journal

Friday evening, moments after a quick mention on the weekly radio show, Cinema Scope (101.1 Santa Fe/simulcast on the web) touched on some local concerns around the disconnect between New Mexico State Tourism and the State Film Industry, confirmations of the out of state marketing firm awarded the $2M New Mexico contract having recently hired a San Francisco production company to trek-in and film tourism spots poured in.

IATSE 480 Business Director, Jon Hendry tells OHI exclusively:
(IATSE 480 – New Mexico chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)

“I’m disappointed that the New Mexico Tourism department chose to go with a California based production company to shoot their most recent commercial. The Department often points to their limited budget yet spends considerably more than they needed to transporting an entire crew from out of State. They brought in equipment we have readily available here and even shipped in Wardrobe for New Mexicans, no doubt so they could look “authentic”. The two local hires [on the production] were the Craft service person and the driver.

To add insult to injury the New Mexican based talent were the lowest paid people on the shoot, working for flats with no residuals. And by coincidence the weather on the shoot days were [un]typically blustery spring days with complete overcast when they were shooting the Santa Fe Plaza. A local crew would have called a weather day but when you’ve transported everyone a long way then that’s not possible. They can hardly have showed NM in its best light.

The main problem is this; We in the Industry have not convinced our own Tourism Department that there’s better, cheaper and more committed resources right here in the State. More troubling, our Film Office who evidently were aware of this and did not intercede apparently feel the same or how could this occur? If they are not our advocates who is?” -Jon Hendry

After the recent shoots, Hendry furthermore extended his apologies to New Mexico production companies vowing to work harder than ever going forward to close gaps between state agencies and state film workers.

Multiple, highly qualified in-state production houses are known to have made considerable efforts to submit for work on the New Mexico State Tourism ad campaign. One local production house confirmed to industry advocates that their firm worked diligently, over several months attempting to be considered for production work on the local tourism shoot.

Repeated contact, including at least one promising exchange with the Texas based company hired to execute the ad campaign, [pen]ultimately led to the New Mexico company being simply ignored – that is until the visiting crew hired was on location here in NM, when it is reported that the California producers called-in for advice on how to shoot a particular way, while the aforementioned regional weather issues griped the production.

Based on such accounts, what we can so far come to expect from the forthcoming campaign is an overcast Santa Fe Plaza and a wind ravaged Sandia Peak. At least it looks like the Kayak shoot was a success. New Mexico Kayak Instruction, Inc. (NMKI) posted on their blog all about the very positive experience of their water sport segment of the campaign shoot.

“Yesterday was my first experience working with the New Mexico Film industry,” NMKI’s Kelly Gossett wrote of the filming. Kayaks yes, NMFilm not so much. Click here for the full account on how at least one New Mexico based company was featured thus far in this out of state, out of pocket ad campaign.

Related: Vendor Inc. | State Tourism RFP | Commercial Casting Call

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NM Job Creation via Tourism

Posted by on February 29, 2012 | 5 comments

UPDATE 3/2/12: OHI has just obtained the following document, as sent out last month, requesting that state leaders consider utilizing local resources to produce the upcoming NM State Tourism multi-media campaign.

GUILTY – We’re all guilty of corporate chain store shopping and franchise restaurant dinning over the local mom & pop businesses who are struggling to survive in our community.

Does this mean we shall all remain passive in allowing our state funds, though humble by national standards, to follow the same path on a still multimillion dollar scale, by way of whatever cryptic and elusive measures may or may not be ordained?

In what looks a lot like an ever increasing tally of slights to the local film & media industry by the Roundhouse, this particular money train (aka NM State Tourism contract) starts in New Mexico, runs through Texas (to drop off the cash) and only creates local work or pays back to New Mexico what is allocated by the out of state firm.

You don’t get to be the 498,660 ranked website in America (1,411,247 worldwide, insert “lol” here) without recognizing that there IS as much passion and interest as there is talent in this great state and its epic film industry that thousands have worked and lived to embolden over lo these many years.

From those of us who watch and report, to those in the trenches who literally implore the powers that be to lend their support to growing the industry, we all want to know – If we’re truly working to bring productions home, why wouldn’t we produce a production set to represent and draw the world’s attention to us with ample local talent?

IATSE Local 480 Business Agent, Jon Hendry proactively set out to offer his industry know-how and resources to the state’s Governor, Susana Martinez and her applicable cabinet members in the above letter dated Feb. 14, 2012 – which all but begs the root question here: If the industry has the support of the current administration why isn’t it being utilized by it?

YOUR “meager” 2M State Tourism dollars are at work on Job Creation, for out of state companies.

The decision to go with the small and relatively new Texas firm, Vendor Inc., may already be generating some tourism revenue, by way of maybe filling some hotel rooms and buying local meals for the out of state advertising firm and their crew*, when they visit NM to execute our new multimillion dollar marketing campaign.

Too bad factoring small business and peripheral spending locally is not taken into any meaningful account by the current administration (oh wait, that’s only when asserted by the evil film industry – Tourism gets carte blanche on claims of grandeur and bloated assertions of ROI – see Catch the Kid). And ~again, in this case, any dollars the Texas firm spends were already New Mexico dollars to begin with.

Though beloved by many (including yours truly), even the casting co. hired by the firm to fill roles for the multi-media ad campaign being shot locally, is not New Mexico based.

At least the gig pays ~well, and so long as they pass the “bag test”, it seems a few New Mexicans will be getting paid as a part of this whole shebang right out of the shoot.

*Unconfirmed – duh, this is a blog not the NY Times

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Corey & Logan: Excellent Avenger Adventure

Posted by on April 5, 2011 | 4 comments

UPDATE April 8, 2011: LOGAN IS IN!!

New Mexico Film made global news when Marvel’s Avengers decided on NM to follow in the superhero footsteps of Thor and so many other successful New Mexico productions.

We watched our own visitor globe light-up with inquiring minds wanting-in on this, the largest production the state has ever seen. One query came from a fellow in Norfolk, VA who said:

“I would just like to verify that this is open to non-NM residents also. About to buy a plane ticket.” – Corey, VA

And buy plane ticket(s) they did! Below is the synopsis from just one dynamic duo who made their way across the country for the Avengers casting call in Albuquerque, NM a couple weeks ago and a review of their trip that the The New Mexico Tourism Department could/should be proud of!

Big ups to those ABQ businesses that got special shout-outs from our cherished guests, sirs Corey & Logan! Here is their story:

On a normal Tuesday night like any other, I received a text message from my friend Logan saying: “Want to go to New Mexico this weekend to try to be extras in the Avengers movie?” I immediately had to call. “Are you for real?!?”

Yeah, he was for real. As soon as I saw the web posting, I couldn’t book a flight and hotel fast enough. We got our schedule set up and were leaving that Thursday morning. Nothing like the last minute, huh?

After two flights and a layover occupied with nothing but comics and sleep, we finally get from Norfolk, Virginia to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We just hung out at the hotel that night and talked about how awesome of a situation this was: in a completely different state across the country and just being where they were going to film The Avengers! I mean, it’s THE AVENGERS, man! Couldn’t sleep too well that night through all the excitement, but managed to get a little shut-eye.

Friday was the big day. We woke up early to try to get there as soon as possible. The description on the site said to dress in your “business/executive best,” so we did just that. A good 30-minute bus ride later, we arrived at the Hotel Albuquerque for the casting call around 10am. We knew it didn’t start until noon, but we grabbed a seat and had plenty of comics to read to take up time. When they got started, Logan and I realized how good of an idea it was to get there early, because they had a line outside wrapped around the entire hotel, and we were sure there would have been even more people the next day.

Eventually, our group got called in so we filled out the paperwork and had our pictures taken mugshot-style. Once we walked out, all we could do was celebrate the occasion, so we talked to some people that knew their way around the town to see what ABQ had to offer. They mentioned Old Town as a close place to get some food and that it would be cool to hang out later in Uptown. Sounded like a plan!

The rest of Friday and all of Saturday was spent getting to see what Albuquerque was all about, and we had a great time! From Nob Hill with the Frontier (for the best burritos I’ve ever had) to the Astro-Zombies comic shop; from the Route 66 Malt Shop and the awesome rockabilly band playing outside to making our way Downtown to Launchpad to see some incredible bluegrass, it was an unbelievable experience! Even if we don’t get called to be extras, the trip was well worth it and I will definitely be going back.

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Bonanza on the Pecos

Posted by on June 12, 2010 | 2 comments

Though the San Miguel county commish & his posse are holding Ma Huckelberry back from creating resort style lodging on his Pecos Ranch property pending a showdown at the not-okay corral (a.k.a. court) later this month, fund raising is in the cards.

You can Cartwright-up for the day or the 1/2 day by donating $125 – $500 to the Santa Fe Film Festival. Your tax deductible donation opens the gates of this modern day Ponderosa to you where like Hoss and the gang you can enjoy a real homestead experience while helping the local film making community.

The more you know New Mexico – This showcase of our land and the enchantment therein…priceless. Now let ma dogooding Huckleberry make his property as prosperous as possible! We’re looking like burros in assless chaps bucking a homeboy who does so much for his adopted home state.

And p.s. this story is going global as the ACLU is getting involved to show us how to treat a brother – global asses, just what NM needs…

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