Alaska tourism ads return to network TV

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Commercials encouraging tourists to visit Alaska are appearing on broadcast television for the first time in more than three decades.

Four ads promoting tourism in Alaska, including a first-ever commercial dedicated solely to winter travel, are being rotated during morning and evening news shows on ABC, NBC and CBS, said Kathy Dunn, the state’s tourism marketing director.

Alaska routinely advertises on television, but it’s been limited to cable networks. The state has spent about $6 million this year on advertising: $3.4 million on cable, $1.2 on national broadcasts and $1.4 million on syndicated programs.

The last time a state tourism ad was on national broadcast television was one commercial during the 1982 Super Bowl, a placement that cost the state $324,000 — or a third of that year’s total tourism budget.

The four ads now running will be rotated in two blocks, running over several months. The first rotation started in late September and will continue through Thanksgiving. The second rotation begins in January and will continue through March, but the winter ad will likely be pulled by mid-February.

The ads are not specific to any region of Alaska but prominently display mountains, glaciers and wildlife — features that research has shown are the big draws for visitors to the state. The ads focus not only on encouraging visitors, but also on putting more immediacy into their visit.

The narrator in one ad says, “This is the year to leave the ordinary behind, and keep promises you made to yourself … This is the year, and Alaska is the place.”