By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE MINISTRY of Tourism officially debuted its first in a series of commercials for the Bahamas during the Super Bowl at a cost of $197,000, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday.
“Behold”, the first commercial to be launched, aired Sunday night to millions of viewers and featured actor, producer and former NBA player Rick Fox and supermodel Shakara Ledard.
Also joining them was magician David Copperfield, owner of Musha Cay, Exuma.
All sequences from the three celebrities are strung together by the baritone
narration of Bahamian Greg Barrett, a former Ministry of Tourism employee.
Mr Wilchcombe said while some may have been disappointed that the ad initially aired in Florida, it premiered in other “major markets” on Monday.
“We debuted it to the Florida market first, like we have been doing since 2002. However, it premiered today in other major markets on MSNBC, the Travel Channel, the Cooking Channel, HGTV, TNT, Lifetime and a few others, so people in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, to name a few, will be able to see it. It will be aired throughout the United States. We paid $197,000 for the Super Bowl ad but it was not just for the Super Bowl. It will run throughout the year and all over the world,” he said.
“The ad was made based on surveys we did that showed that most people come to the Bahamas for our beaches, climate, rest and relaxation and friendly people. The ad will have a tremendous impact. This morning when I checked on youtube the ad had already gotten more than 11,000 views.”
Mr Wilchcombe said the ad is the first glimpse into a $14 million campaign that aims at “reintroducing the Bahamas to the world.”
”The entire campaign,” he said, “will be about $14 million. That’s for commercials and placement ads in various markets. We are doing this year round this time. You have to spend money to make money. We are in the big leagues now. For those who say it is a waste of money, how do they know? We have not seen the results of the ad yet.
“We lost market share in Florida and New York so we have to rebuild our campaign. No campaign costs less than $4 million, that is the reality of the business we are in. Our aim is to get the hotels filled, get the people talking about the Bahamas again and get a return on our investment.”
Mr Wilchcombe said both local and international filmmakers are working on Ministry of Tourism Ads.