New Mexico Tourism Department officials accepted the 2018 Mercury Award for "Best Co-op Marketing Program" last night at the U.S. Travel Association's ESTO (Educational Seminar for Travel Organizations) conference. The Mercury Awards recognize tourism offices for excellence and creative accomplishment in state and territory destination marketing and promotion; and inspire, through showcasing outstanding work, the continued development of imaginative and exciting marketing and promotional programs.

"I am so proud to bring this award home to New Mexico on behalf of the tourism industry partners who put their trust in our program," said Rebecca Latham, Tourism Department Cabinet Secretary. "Our team works very hard to provide exceptional media opportunities for cities, towns, villages, tribes and non-profits in New Mexico, regardless of their budget. It is wonderful to have their work recognized as best in class."

The New Mexico True Co-op Marketing Program offers a dollar-for-dollar match on cooperative advertising to local and tribal governments and non-profit entities through a competitive grant process. In FY18, nearly $500,000 was awarded to 27 entities for a total media investment of $1.09 million. The program is managed by Andrea Lawrence, Brand Expansion and Marketing Specialist, in partnership with Katie Connolly and Associates.

Debbie Johnson, Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, and Sean McLaughlin, news anchor for CBS 5, emceed the award ceremony in Phoenix on Tuesday night. "[This program] took a truly original approach to combining the strengths of many organizations to highlight the state’s unique attributes while meeting the needs of multiple stakeholders," said Johnson.

The New Mexico True Co-op Marketing Program was redesigned in FY18 to extend the New Mexico True brand across all co-operative marketing tactics and provide participating partners with access to stronger media partnerships than in the past. The goals of the program include:

  1. Provide options to meet diverse range of partner needs and budgets,
  2. Leverage NMTD funding with industry partner funds for greater media buying power of all parties involved,
  3. Enable efficient production of engaging creative assets that meet brand standards,
  4. Maintain cooperative advertising creative quality and consistency,
  5. Deliver unprecedented performance reporting to ensure NMTD and partner objectives are met or exceeded.

The FY18 Co-op program provided a cumulative 92 media programs and 42 content programs for industry partners, resulting in:

  • Over 6 million digital impressions (average CTR .25% linking back to partner sites)
  • 86,000 emails (average open rate 28%, partner click through +4%)
  • 42 native articles created for partners and featured on
  • 422,739 engagements with native articles linking back to
  • 771,925 video views (675,835 videos viewed to completion)
  • 30 million audience reach via out-of-home executions
  • 1,375,000 print circulation

In FY19 another $100,000 in co-op funds were made available for match, with nearly $600,000 awarded to 37 entities for a total program value of $1.37 million.