Mexico Tourism Board Targets Advertising at ... Mexicans

$92 Million Effort Will Try to Spark Positive Word-of-Mouth After Swine-Flu Outbreak

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NEW YORK ( -- Weeks after the swine-flu outbreak scared tourists away from Mexico, the country's president, Felipe Calderon, announced plans to spend $92 million on efforts to promote tourism.

Taking a somewhat odd trickle-up approach, the Mexico Tourism Board is starting with a national campaign aimed only at Mexicans, perhaps because the group hasn't yet figured out how to attempt to entice international travelers back to Mexico. The national campaign is called "Vive Mexico," and the goal is to enlist Mexicans in revitalizing the tourism industry and counteracting the negative publicity from the epidemic.

"I invite every Mexican to show international tourists how visiting our nation is a great experience; that Mexico is not only a beautiful country but is also strong and capable of facing the toughest adversities," Mr. Calderon said in his announcement on Monday in Mexico City. "We await visitors from all over the world with open arms to our beaches, cities and towns. This should be a true national movement that needs the participation of every Mexican citizen."

The message may not have gotten through yet to Acapulco, where the Associated Press reported that several vehicles with Mexico City license plates were stoned upon arrival there, apparently because there have been more cases of swine flu in Mexico City than in other areas. The AP also reported sightings of T-shirts with the slogan "I went to Mexico and all I got was swine flu."

Advertising will be handled by the Mexico Tourism Board's international creative agency, Publicis Groupe's Olabuenaga Chemistri in Mexico City. The agency is headed by one of Mexico's leading creatives, Ana Maria Olabuenaga. In North America, media planning and buying for the account is handled by U.S. Hispanic agency Machado/Garcia-Serra in Miami.

A spokeswoman for the Mexico Tourism Board said different international ad campaigns will be created later.

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