SANTA FE, NM: Edelman and advertising agency M&C Saatchi have won a $3 million account to brand New Mexico and promote tourism.
Although the state has previously worked with ad agencies, this is the first time Gov. Bill Richardson (D) has brought in a PR firm, said Cathleen Johnson, EVP, GM, and global director of Edelman's tourism practice.
Edelman is overseeing the outreach component, as well as online marketing and website development.
Johnson noted that the firm is also responsible for ensuring the effort remains integrated. "I think that's pretty exciting for a public relations firm," she said.
One of the most immediate challenges will be to draw more visitors to the state at a time when many people are concerned about gas prices.
"The governor realizes that tourism and economic development [are] the key to the future of the state," Johnson said. "Tourism is the 800-pound gorilla in New Mexico, so we're starting with tourism."
The effort is still being developed, but certain themes have already emerged, said Johnson.
"New Mexico has always been known as the land of enchantment," she said. "New Mexico is a place where creativity flourishes."
Richardson appointed Johnny Montoya to lead the campaign and serve in the new position of state director of marketing and advertising.
Edelman and M&C Saatchi also work together on a campaign funded by the Department of Commerce to promote US tourism.