SAN SALVADOR, Bahamas -- Club Med kicked off a $20 million advertising campaign Sept. 1 aimed at giving the resort brand a new "American Voice," in the words of chairman Philippe Bourguignon.

The campaign will include tag lines to drive business to travel agencies. "Call your agent. Your travel agent," will read one sign emblazoned on a city bus in Los Angeles.

To facilitate agency bookings, Club Med plans to launch an Internet reservations site for travel agents on Oct. 1.

Bourguignon, who was at Club Med Columbus Isle here to preview the campaign to an audience of 500 travel agents, said the push will focus on families, general adult audiences and first-time visitors.

The campaign will include television, newspapers, consumer print, outdoor and Internet ads, targeting the firm's six U.S. gateways, particularly New York and Los Angeles.

The U.S. is Club Med's second-largest market after France, and 92% of Americans are aware of Club Med as a brand, but Bourguignon said that only 8% of Americans have actually visited a village.

Some of those who are familiar with the brand still harbor misconceptions about its target market. Most egregious, according to Bourguignon, is the lingering idea from the 1970s that the resorts are for swinging singles only.

In fact, families account for some 65% of the company's business, and there are 20 family villages around the world offering supervised, age-appropriate programs for kids up to age 12.

In addition to touting family fun, the yearlong campaign is designed to appeal to stressed-out U.S. travelers.

One ad, set to adorn phone kiosks in New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal in January, will read: "Your body is 60% water. Water freezes at 32 degrees. You do the math."

Also new this year is the company's first winter snow brochure touting its two Club Med ski villages in the U.S.

The villages, both in Colorado, are Club Med Copper Mountain, now being repositioned as an adults-only ski resort, and the new Club Med Crested Butte, a family village resort set to debut in November.

"Americans are traveling and vacationing smarter," Bourguignon said. "In addition to convenience and flexibility, they value authenticity," which he said is a hallmark of his firm, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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