Lewis Black Stars in Aruba Spots

NEW YORK The Aruba Tourism Authority this month will expand its recently launched campaign, themed “90,000 friends you haven’t met yet,” to include in-cinema and online ads featuring comedian Lewis Black.

The ads feature Aruba locals — like spa owners, chefs, windsurfers and musicians — telling their individual stories and explaining why they love the island. Viewers are invited to meet the people of Aruba and see the landscapes before they visit, said Theresita Chai, the client’s marketing director for North America.

“We know that consumers have so many choices when it comes to selecting a travel destination, so we wanted to focus on what makes Aruba unique: the people, the weather and the activities offered on the island,” said Chai.

In new spots that will appear in movie theaters and online this month, comedian Black is shown befriending Aruban people during a trip. The spots also will air on regional TV starting in 2009.

Chai added that most of Aruba’s travelers come from the U.S., specifically the top six markets where it’s advertising. “And we wanted relate to that audience by featuring Lewis Black in the ads, since he’s a well-known and respected comedian in North America,” she said.

As part of the campaign, a new Aruba Web site will launch this month. It will serve as a planning and booking tool for tourists. According to the tourism authority, the site also will serve as a social network where tourists can become “friends” of Aruba and share with others their favorite restaurants, attractions and activities.

Aruba spends $10 million annually on ads in North America, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The work via IPG’s Lowe in New York kicked off in October with print, transit and digital ads in major markets including New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Hartford/New Haven, Conn. Print ads are running in general interest and lifestyle magazines. Online ads are running on Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com and other popular travel-oriented sites.