Birmingham-born actress Courteney Cox to do ad for Alabama beaches

Friday, Aug 6, 2010

Birmingham-born actress Courteney Cox, best known for her role on the sitcom “Friends,” will appear in a new ad touting Alabama beaches.

Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department, said Thursday that Cox would make a public service announcement once she completes her latest film project, “Scream 4.”

Sentell said Cox, 46, would make the ad on the set of her new movie, which is being shot in Michigan.

“Her mother is looking for some old home movies and we’ve given her several scripts,” he said. “She’ll be talking about her memories of going to Gulf Shores.”

Sentell said the public service spot would air during the “transition period” between the time Alabama beaches are deemed completely clear of oil from the BP spill and next spring.

An ad shot earlier by former American Idol winner Taylor Hicks will begin airing before the Labor Day weekend.At that point, Sentell said the ad featuring Jimmy Buffet’s sister, Lucy, would be dropped since the Hicks ad is focused on the beaches.

“That’s intended to be ‘all’s clear’ message,” he said.

The ads with Hicks and Buffett were split messages, with Buffett talking about off-beach activities while Hicks focuses on the white sandy beaches.Alabama is still running the Buffet ads in Louisiana, Mississippi and some Alabama markets, but has pulled out of Atlanta, Sentell said.

North Carolina and South Carolina are continuing to advertise their beaches in Atlanta because their schools don’t start until after Labor Day.

“They are spending a great deal of money in Atlanta,” Sentell said. “We’re choosing to hold ours in reserve until next year.”

Because schools start so early in Alabama, Sentell that August is not as important to the summer beach season as it once was.In fact, he said Baldwin County collects more in lodging taxes in February than it does in August.

Meanwhile, Sentell said Cox’s spot would be shot by her movie production company.

“This is something we’d like to get on the air during the transition period as people get more comfortable going back to the beach,” he said.

By next spring, Sentell predicted that ads for Alabama beaches won’t make any mention of oil.

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