M&C Saatchi Claims N.M. Tourism

LOS ANGELES Independent M&C Saatchi has won the estimated $3 million New Mexico state tourism advertising account following a six-month review, the agency said today.

The Santa Monica, Calif., agency is partnering with Los Angeles public relations firm Edelman to craft a complete marketing campaign, said L.A. office chief executive officer Huw Griffith. The multi-component effort, he said, would take an “integrated approach” to positioning New Mexico as both a must-visit destination and a unified brand.

M&C Saatchi was selected following a six-month, 32-contender review, according to a statement from the office of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Participants included “a good mix of agencies” from across the country, Griffith said, noting that “it’s a great opportunity to build a brand.”

According to the governor’s office, this marks the first time New Mexico will coordinate its departmental advertising resources on behalf of a consistent marketing message. Previously, state agencies including tourism, economic development, cultural affairs and state parks worked independently to boost potential visitors’ interest. The new, unified effort will be overseen on the government side by recently named state director of marketing and advertising Johnny Montoya.

Since 1991, the New Mexico state tourism ad account had been handled by independent Rick Johnson & Co. in Albuquerque, N.M. Although the shop’s contract with the state expired in September, its most recent TV and print campaign—launched in May—is still running. A new campaign by M&C Saatchi and Edelman is expected to break in the first quarter of next year, Griffith said.

The 2006 branding effort has been allotted a $3 million budget, according to the governor’s office. Across all state agencies, New Mexico spent $13 million on tourism-related advertising in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.