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Pitching Tahoe to the southland

Dan Thrift/Tahoe TribuneRussell Hamby takes the plunge into Lake Tahoe's new Blue World filmed off the pier at the Zephyr Cove Presbyterian Conference Center.
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Come next spring, Tahoe tourism officials hope to welcome La-La Land to the Blue World.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority’s new advertising agency took its first shot at creating the new image-building campaign Friday.

The crew of agency Mering and Associates staged the shoot at the Zephyr Cove Presbyterian Conference Center with San Francisco production company Roaring Tiger Films.



Mering’s creative director Greg Carson said he was not concerned about Friday morning’s white skies that are uncharacteristic of Tahoe.

“We knew exactly what we were going to get this morning,” he said.




Carson, who works in Sacramento, has frequented Tahoe many times.

Carson’s crew of 48, including the cast, worked on creating three television spots to air in Los Angeles in March. The quest required a cast.

“It’s whoever would jump in the lake,” Carson said.

Agency chief Dave Mering added, “and it helps if they’re attractive.”

The call of “action” sent Russell Hamby running off the conference center pier into the 65-degree water.

Alpen Sierra Coffee Co. Marketing Director Megan Waskiewicz stood bundled up and ready for her acting debut.

“I’m going to freeze my butt off,” she said.

Beyond the jumps in the lake, the crew’s two days of shooting netted scenes with a classic wooden boat cruising on Lake Tahoe.

“It’s the look of Tahoe. You know it when you see it — that natural beauty,” he said. “The idea was to make it simple.”

The simplicity shouldn’t justify the quality though. The crew was shooting on 35mm film — not videotape as in most standard commercial productions.

The creative costs and media buys represent parts of a bold new campaign that aim to cost the lake’s tourism agency $300,000 and $2.1 million, respectively. The total 2002-03 LTVA budget amounting to $3.7 million was approved by the board a little over a week ago, with a list of concessions to handle a projected shortfall. Media buy expenditures in particular could run up to $400,000 over budget.

The LTVA will actively pursue cooperative opportunities locally, regionally and nationally as well as monitor the cash-flow situation on a monthly basis.


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