from Roswell Daily Record, June 22, 2006
Albuquerque firm designs advertising campaign for Roswell

Christopher Cunningham
Record Staff Writer, Roswell Daily Record

Roswell city officials and advertising consultants kicked off a national publicity campaign for the city at the Roswell Museum and Art Center on Wednesday, a campaign that uses the artwork of 1950s science-fiction novels for the theme “The Amazing Roswell Mysteries.”

In a playful reference to the reported UFO crash landing near Roswell in 1947, the marketing effort also features a tag line: “Visitors Welcome.”

Shirts and posters featuring the artwork go on sale today at the Roswell Museum and Art Center.

The kickoff ceremony was attended by members of the hotel and restaurant industry, city staff, news media and the Albuquerque advertising firm, Rick Johnson and Company, which worked with a city committee to create the campaign.

The firm unveiled the first three of several illustrations, each with a different theme, each like the cover of a science-fiction novel.

One illustration features a couple in space suits walking downtown. A second shows a farmer discovering a crashed UFO in 1947. A third depicts a submerged deep-sea diver at Bottomless Lakes State Park.

Alexis Kerschner, public relations manager for the Rick Johnson company, described the development of the marketing campaign. She said Reneé Roach, public relations officer for the city and chairwoman of the Advertising Committee, came to her with a challenge: create a marketing campaign that combined the city’s UFO heritage with other attractions in the area. The end product, “says UFO without saying UFO.”

She said the illustrations would appear as print advertisements in national publications, as posters and on billboards, cups and shirts.

More illustrations are coming, perhaps three per year, Kerschner said, and will promote other Roswell attractions such as arts, culture and economic development.

“Really, the sky’s the limit,” she added.

Mayor Sam LaGrone encouraged the public to take part in the marketing campaign and to provide feedback about it.

“We’re open to new ideas,” he said.

Neil Roe, owner of Peppers Grill and Bar, reminded the audience of the importance of the tourism industry to Roswell.

“And it’s good industry, and it’s good clean industry,” he added.

He said Roswell residents should not care about whether the UFO history of Roswell is true or not, and he talked about the high number of sales at the International UFO Museum and Research Center, and the high lodger’s tax revenue generated by hotels.

“It’s about tourism and the money it generates,” he said.

Roach said the “Amazing Roswell Mysteries” billboards will be in Moriarty and on the Texas-New Mexico line north of El Paso. The illustrations also will be featured on the city’s official Web site,

Visitors to that Web site can submit questions about the city, Roach said, and will receive promotional gifts with the new “Amazing Roswell Mysteries” theme.

Roach said she was “ecstatic” about the new marketing campaign.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive comments,” she said.

Businesses that wish to sell the “Amazing Roswell Mysteries” merchandise can purchase it wholesale from Roach, who can be contacted by telephone at 637-6293.

Jack Bhakta, owner of the Crane Motel, approved of the new marketing effort.

“It’s beautiful,” he said.

Lee Adams, manager of the Fairfield Inn, called it an “awesome” branding campaign.

“I think it will bring more tourism in,” he said. “It’s very attractive, very eye-catching.”