Trying to Alter Perceptions, Mexico Uses Candid Chitchat

The New York Times, 11/2/11

CAMPAIGNS that feature hidden-camera commercials are popular among marketers seeking to change perceptions about products because they offer consumers a chance to watch other consumers share candid opinions. Examples include spots for Folgers instant coffee, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Ford Motor.

Beginning on Friday, there will be another arrival amid their ranks: Mexico, which is seeking to change perceptions about conditions that tourists find there. The commercials are part of a campaign for the Mexico Tourism Board, with a budget estimated at more than $30 million, that is to run in major cities. The campaign also includes online and print advertising.

The commercials blend trappings of hidden-camera spots with elements of the HBO series “Taxicab Confessions.” To underline the mash-up, the campaign is called the “Mexico Taxi Project,” a title that is echoed in the address of a microsite, or special Web site, at mexicotaxiproject.com.

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