NBA Stars Promote La. Tourism

NEW YORK The Louisiana Office of Tourism has unveiled a $6 million ad campaign that is part of the state’s ongoing effort to reboot its lucrative tourism trade in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The campaign, “This is my Louisiana,” under the auspices of the state’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, features numerous home-grown celebrities expounding on the virtues of Louisiana. Several National Basketball Association stars are included, in anticipation of the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans on Feb. 17. The effort includes national and regional TV and print, the Internet and other elements.

In the 30-second TV spot, New Orleans Hornets player Chris Paul interacts with Louisiana-born NBA legends Willis Reed and Karl Malone, who keep imploring Paul to get off the basketball court and fish, hunt and camp with them. “Come on, CP, lighten up,” says Reed. Paul continues to shoot hoops, then ends up in a party on the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter. “I have all the Louisiana I need right here,” says Paul.

TV and print also features WNBA star Cheryl Ford, chef John Besh and musician Amanda Shaw, all natives of the state. The campaign will break in March.

“The goal of the campaign is to give visitors an insider’s opinion about things to do and see in the state, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

While the ads won’t appear until after the NBA All-Star Game, the league has agreed to sponsor some TV and radio spots.

The Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and Peter A. Mayer Advertising, New Orleans, created the campaign.