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The initial marketing foray of the state's "Utah - Life Elevated" tourism promotion campaign has done pretty well, but not great, in capturing attention in three targeted cities.

About 15 percent of the Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles residents who saw "Utah - Life Elevated" television or print ads said they were likely to visit the state as a result. By contrast, only 10 percent of those who had not seen the ads said Utah was a likely vacation spot in the near future.

How many of those actually follow through and book vacation plans will be the subject of the next round of surveying by Strategic Marketing & Research Inc., a Carmel, Ind.-based company retained by the Utah Office of Tourism to track the effectiveness of its promotional campaigns.

"I've seen more efficient [advertising] buys. But this was your first effort," Strategic Marketing vice president Denise Miller told the Utah Office of Tourism Board last week. "To shift attitudes will take longer. Advertising over two to three years could produce significant changes."

After the state launched its summer-oriented advertising campaign last spring - the first to use the new "Life Elevated" brand theme - Miller's company conducted weekly surveys in the three cities where state tourism officials felt they could make an impact.

Out of 1,062 people questioned, 32.8 percent said they recalled seeing a Utah ad. Two thirds of those said they remembered a TV ad, while 11 percent cited familiarity with a print ad. But with the state spending $1.7 million on television ads and just $556,000 on print ads, those recollections suggest the print ads were slightly more effective - particularly since memories of print ads actually grew in weeks after the campaign's launch date.

"That suggests you could have advertised longer," Miller said. "That doesn't always happen. In this case, a longer advertising period would have helped."

Among those who saw the ads, Miller said the promotions were most effective in conveying the message that Utah has numerous national parks with aesthetic landscapes and opportunities for outdoor adventure. But the ads fell short in conveying the notion that the state offers much in terms of high-end amenities and services, is luxurious or has much fun stuff for children to do.

And its tag line - "Life Elevated" - had a middle-of-the-pack response.

"With beauty and scenery we did a pretty good job," summed up board chairman Kim McClelland. "But we need a motivating factor to get the results we want."

In comparing Utah's print ads to those from three neighboring states, Miller said survey respondents recalled Arizona's presentations more favorably than the Beehive State's. But Utah outdid Colorado and New Mexico.

She also said respondents who saw Utah's ads were 16 percent more likely to request additional information about the state than those who had not seen anything on TV or in newspapers.