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Al White, Colorado tourism chief, pens new slogan for New Mexico: Just south of paradise!

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Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about New Mexico's $2.5 million effort to rebrand the state "as a place of charm and character, adventure, excitement -- and really good green chili cheeseburgers." It seems that the Land of Enchantment isn't perceived as very enchanting; focus groups described it as "dull," "barren" and "close to Arizona," while Colorado was called "majestic." Al White, the former state senator-turned-director of the Colorado Tourism Office, couldn't help but respond.

White wrote a letter to the editor, and the WSJ published it.

"The 'Land of Enchantment' Needs a Lift," about New Mexico's rebranding says that the state is looking to Colorado, which "routinely gets praised in focus groups," as a model. So how about this for a theme: "New Mexico . . . just south of Paradise!" That would have saved New Mexico the $2.5 million it spent on the effort.

Al White Denver

Mr. White is the director of the Colorado Tourism Office.

At yesterday's Tourism Day at the state Capitol, White told a crowd of tourism pros that he hadn't yet heard from his counterpart in New Mexico. He said he had, however, heard from one man who said White's smart-ass response would ensure that he never brings his family to Colorado -- and from another who said just the opposite.

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