Big Easy Invites Tourists to a Musical-Culinary Xmas

Montgomery Stire & Partners is using celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse to spice up New Orleans’ latest tourism advertising campaign.

MS&P will roll out the first phase of the annual $3.9 million campaign for New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. next month. In the 30-second television spot, which is supported by print work, Lagasse urges leisure travelers to toss out the holiday fruitcake in favor of a New Orleans-style Christmas.

“Our goal is to fill up the convention lulls in New Orleans,” said Chimene Connor, account executive at MS&P in New Orleans. “Except for the Sugar Bowl, Thanksgiving through January is slow. We packaged Christmas New Orleans-style to help with that push.”

This is the third year that the client has preempted its annual spring advertising campaign with a winter holiday blitz, Connor said.

Another 60-second spot, which will air next spring and summer, opens with Lagasse enjoying his favorite pastime—playing the drums. A jazz ensemble backs up his narrative.

“A great city is like a great recipe is like a great song,” the ambassador of New Orleans cuisine muses. “So kick it up a notch by cooking up a visit to New Orleans.”

Agency creative director Frank Stire said the campaign will maintain its long-standing central tag, “Come join the parade,” in literature mailed to callers of a toll-free information number.

“We basically created this campaign around Emeril,” Stire said. “He was a perfect choice to play up two main reasons to visit New Orleans: the food and the music.”

The Christmas campaign will run in markets throughout the South from Houston to Mobile, Ala. The spring “music” series will air in 22 targeted cities including Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Miami and Little Rock, Ark., as well as on national cable television.

New Orleans is not the only sponsor employing Lagasse. Fetzer Vineyards recently signed a long-term endorsement agreement with the chef. Working with Dallas-based promotional agency TLP, Lagasse will be featured in point-of-sale and radio ads for the San Rafael, Calif.-based wine producer.