ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – A Catholic community health organization wants to draw attention to child poverty in New Mexico and is using a parody of the state’s successful tourism ad campaign to do it. But their new campaign is causing controversy.
CHI St. Joseph’s Children this week launched a “New Mexico Truth” campaign consisting of a website and commercials about how children in the state suffer economically.
The organization’s CEO, Allen Sanchez, says it’s meant to parody the “New Mexico True” campaign that has been credited with boosting tourism in the state.
“New Mexico is in a crisis,” said Sanchez.
The poverty campaign uses a logo similar to “New Mexico True” and shares statistics of child poverty.
“This is a right that we have to do a parody about a problem that we have,” said Sanchez. “New Mexico, you rank number one in children’s poverty,” he said.
CHI St. Joseph’s Children is part of a coalition of groups that is pushing for lawmakers to expand early childhood education by dipping into one of the state’s permanent funds.
The parody ads drew criticism from the state.
“This is nothing more than a petty, cynical attempt to hijack an ad campaign that showcases the beauty, diversity and wonders of New Mexico – one that is bringing tourists and revenue to communities large and small – in order to score cheap political points,” said Michael Lonergan, press secretary for Governor Susana Martinez, in a statement released to KRQE News 13.
“If Breaking Bad didn’t hurt New Mexico, this is a little three-week campaign,” Sanchez said.
A petition on Change.org started by the New Mexico Hospitality Association denounced the parody campaign.