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Texas Tourism Takes Off With TM Campaign

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DALLAS TM Advertising's new $15 million campaign for Texas Tourism features six TV spots that follow different families trekking through the state, the agency said.

The campaign continues to carry the tagline, "It's like a whole other country." After successfully defending the account in a review last year, TM is investing more in interactive work than ever before. The Interpublic Group agency estimates that $2 million will go toward online advertising.

"The online campaign is critical in helping build the Texas Tourism brand," said James Hering, director of TM Interactive. "We think we've found a fresh and unique way to connect with consumers such as live Web cams where consumers can be connected with Texas 24-7."

The TV work includes three 60-second direct response commercials and three 30-second versions. Each spot tracks the vacation experiences of a different family as they travel through the state hiking, camping, enjoying the beaches, fishing, camping, visiting a dude ranch, theme park or museum, or shopping. Southwestern cuisine is also depicted.

Each spot includes a customized music track featuring several Texas artists such as Emily Gimble, who sings with Tequila Mockingbird, Austin, Texas. The spots will break on direct response TV and national cable sponsorship.

"Our new tourism campaign is designed to highlight the state's image as an inviting destination with diverse landscapes and limitless activities shaped by a rugged and warm personality," said Julie Chase, tourism director in the
Office of the Governor.

TM chief creative officer Jim Ferguson was executive creative director for the commercials, with Wade Alger and Jay Russell as group creative directors. Chris Scott was the copywriter, and Barry Brothers provided art direction. The production company was Directorz, with Hal Dantzler as executive producer.

Nine print ads will break in March in Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Cottage Living, Cowboys & Indians and Good Housekeeping.

Tourism is one of the largest industries in Texas, employing 478,000. In 2003, travelers spent more than $41.2 billion in the state, according to the governor's office. Travel expenditures generated $2.2 billion in state taxes and $661 million in local taxes.

TM, based in Irving, Texas, has held the tourism account since 1998.