An Arizona sheriff is calling on Mexican officials to apologize for what he says is a “threatening” advertisement. The ad shows a man wearing camouflage looking through binoculars with the words: “In Sonora we are looking for people from Arizona.”
The advertisement, which ran Friday in the Arizona Republic, caught the eye of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who posted the VisitMexico.com/GoToSonora.com spot on his Twitter page and asked citizens to call Mexican Tourism Board offices for clarification.
“Are they threatening us? Do they not want us to go to Mexico for tourism? It’s mindboggling,” Arpaio told FoxNews.com on Monday. “I don’t think it was in good taste.”
Arpaio said he found the advertisement “inappropriate” and called on Mexican officials to apologize.
“I want everybody to call the Tourism Board,” Arpaio said. “To me, it’s a threatening type of advertisement.”
Javier Tapia, coordinator of the Tourism Promotion Commission of Sonora, said the second version of the advertisement, which ran on Saturday, features the words “who want to have a great time” following the initial line “In Sonora we are looking for people from Arizona.” A scene of beachgoers also can be seen in the reflection of the binocular lenses, an element that did not appear in the original “teaser” advertisement.
Tapia insisted neither the first nor second versions of the ad were intended as a threat.
“We want to be very aggressive in our push, but we’re not trying to scare anybody,” he told FoxNews.com. “We’re looking for the opposite — we want everyone to feel very welcome here in Sonora.”
John Zidich, president and publisher of the Arizona Republic, said he was not aware of any complaints to the newspaper regarding the advertisement. He declined to discuss its content.
“We have worked with the state of Sonora for many years to assist them with Arizona’s tourism to Mexico,” Zidich told FoxNews.com. “We started a discussion months ago to prepare for this upcoming season and have a good relationship with them as a client.”
The sole purpose of the advertisement was to “drive tourism” to Mexico, Zidich said.
In a statement to FoxNews.com, the Mexico Tourism Board said the purpose of the advertisement was to attract Arizonans.
“This ad was not placed by the Mexico Tourism Board, but rather by the Sonora State Tourism Secretariat. It looks as if the ad was cropped by the person who posted it,” the statement read. “I am sure that the Sonora State Tourism Secretariat will be glad to comment on the full content of the ad, but undoubtedly its purpose was to attract visitors from Arizona, one of Sonora’s main tourism feeder markets.”
Micky Klausner, of Scottsdale, Ariz., told abc15.com he found the advertisement bizarre.
“It’s kind of bizarre, I don’t get it, I don’t like it,” Klausner told the website. “They want us to come to Mexico. Does that mean they’ll be watching us?”
Klausner continued, “It’s enough, you can tell with what it says, ‘We’re looking for people from Arizona.’ I don’t care for it.”