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Alien Ads Draw Fire In New Mexico

A new campaign for New Mexico has sparked a clash with tourism officials divided over taxpayer-funded spots that feature twisted aliens from outer space talking about their personal lives. The ads, which are tagged "the best place in the Universe" are provocative and funny, but some detractors say they are a threat to the state's $5.1 billion tourism industry.

"New Mexico has a lot to offer--we don't need to bring our standards down," said Ken Mompellier, head of the convention and visitors bureau in Las Cruces, the state's second-largest city, which refuses to use the alien ads. "What does this campaign show of the things that we are known for?" he asks.

Dale Lockett, president of the state's largest convention and visitors bureau in Albuquerque, told the ad creators -- M&C Saatchi -- that their work appeals to the wrong audience. At a recent meeting of the state's tourism commission, the agency was urged to soften up the aliens. Chris Stagg, a marketing executive at Taos Ski Valley who serves on the commission, says the shop may come back with a "less harsh" version of the campaign.



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