Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Ad Campaign for Tourism Unveiled

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Ad Campaign for Tourism Unveiled

Article excerpt

By Max Nichols Journal Record Correspondent GROVE, Okla. _ Oklahoma would have a good chance of securing a significant destination point attraction, such as a major theme park, with an effort as intense as the United Airlines campaign, state Tourism Secretary James C. Thomas said Monday.

"I believe we could do it in five years," Thomas said during the Governor's Conference on Tourism at Shangri-La Resort on Grand Lake. "It would take vision and hard work, but it could be just as effective as a United Airlines plan _ depending, of course, on the size of the attraction." Oklahoma City recently lost a bid for a United Airlines maintenance center to Indianapolis. The campaign cost a reported $500,000 plus untold hours of volunteer time by leading officials.

Oklahoma will spend about $2.4 million in advertising to attract tourists next year. Thomas said that is expected to have a 15-1 return in terms of economic impact (which would be about $36 million).

"Even the low states have an 8-1 return, and we expect ours to be 15-1," said Thomas. "That's how responsive the tourist industry can be." The 1992 advertising theme of "Oklahoma Native America" was unveiled during the first day of the conference, which extends through Wednesday.

The word "native" will be carried throughout the advertising and be seen on

everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs, said Jeanette Elliott, senior vice president and creative director of Ackerman, Hood & McQueen Inc. of Oklahoma City, developer of the campaign.

"Research shows Oklahoma's strongest selling point is that we are the cradle of the American culture and the West," said Kathleen Marks, division director of Travel and Tourism. "Ads will show the state as natural, uncrowded and unspoiled."

For example, television ads included themes such as native speed (involving sailing), native sun (Oklahoma's sunny days and sports), native culture (Indians and cowboys), etc.

"Oklahoma is America in its native state: natural and authentic," said Elliott. "It is the cradle of American culture _ and the West. Home to the Indians, buffalo and pioneers, to horses, cowboys and cattle drives. …

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