All the Texas Icons Are M.I.A.

The launch campaign for the new Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is as noteable for what it doesn’t contain as for what it does.

No cowboysdrive their herds through the dust and glare of a midday Texas sun. No fields of bluebonnets wave along the highways. The Alamo is nowhere in sight. Campfires, wagon wheels, Texas Rangers—all are missing.

What viewers do get, in a 30-second spot released this month from Fellers Marketing and Advertising in Austin, Texas, is an Eskimo standing in the middle of a snow-covered plain. As he begins to speak in his native dialect, subtitles appear, revealing his love for “cowboy poetry.”

The campaign’s tagline, “For everyone in Texas and the Texan in everyone,” is extended to print ads. One features a man in traditional German clothing with the following text: “Says howdy instead of guten tag.” Another ad depicts a European royal with the headline “Favorite movie is Urban Cowboy.”

The creative concept is the same one that won the the account for the agency last fall following a hotly contested local review.

“We batted [ideas] around for a while and [felt] we needed to come up with something completely atypical,” said agency creative director David Walker.

The campaign is intended to “push people from any origin, or state or ethnic background,” Walker said. “We kind of appealed to everyone in different ways. And we needed to make it a little more hip so that it’s not just geared to the 40-to 50-year-old museum crowd.”

The campaign, which includes outdoor and collateral components, will run in major markets in Texas in anticipation of the museum’s grand opening April 28.

In addition to efforts for the grand opening, Fellers will handle membership and promotional programs for the facility.

The $80 million museum was created with funds from the state legislature as the first official history museum of Texas. The pink granite building features a 400-seat Imax motion picture theater, a 200-seat storytelling facility and three floors of exhibit space. The complex also includes offices, classrooms and a cafe.

Fellers’ contract with the State Preservation Board extends through August 2001, after which there is a renewal option.