Dome launches campaign to lure 12 million

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The Independent Online
SHOOTING STARS representing the dreams of the nation, stirring music and a glorious dawn over the Millennium Dome will be used this week to try to persuade millions of Britons that the much-derided pounds 758m attraction in south-east London is worth visiting.

The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), which runs the dome, has opted for an epic, Eighties-style television advert created by the Saatchi brothers to announce that tickets for the dome go on sale tomorrow. M&C Saatchi, the second eponymous agency founded by the brothers, has created a campaign reminiscent of Saatchi and Saatchi's British Airways' advert, which saw a chunk of Manhattan fly over night-time London.

The advert, part of a pounds 16m campaign, uses shooting stars to illustrate the dreams of "representative Britons" and then suggests that they can all come true in the dome. It switches to a farmhouse in Yorkshire, a harbour in Northumberland and a tower-block estate in east London before ending with a shot of the dome at dawn.

The advert will be screened from tomorrow, when the tickets go on sale. Family tickets will cost pounds 57; adults will pay pounds 20.

Using the slogan "one amazing day", the advert will try to persuade the public that they can "land like aliens from outer space" in the Home Planet zone of the dome; "travel through the human body" in the Body Zone; or be "a three-dimensional computer game hero" in the Talk Zone. However, it glosses over exactly what people will be able to do and see when the dome opens in January.

Sholto Douglas-Home, the marketing director of NMEC, which has set itself the target of attracting 12 million visitors, admitted that people had negative perceptions about the dome, but he claimed the advertising would change this. "The more people know about what's in the dome the less perceptions of it will be clouded by politics, budgets or luvvies and creative types having spats about it. The more they know of what is in it, the more the negative attitudes will evaporate," he said. "We expect people to say to their friends in the pub after their visit, `That was amazing'."

Tickets will be sold through National Lottery retailers, which will be able to use their computers to check availability.