NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a new television commercial promoting Tennessee tourism, a dashing young Elvis Presley drives his red convertible Corvette Stingray in a clip from his 1967 film "Clambake."
But this time, the bouffant blonde riding in shotgun has a familiar Appalachian twang.
Music icons Dolly Parton and Presley appear in the ad together through digital insertion. State tourism officials believe it is the first time Elvis has digitally appeared in a television commercial with a celebrity.
"I've played a lot of stages over the years but there's one I never get tired of that's set for a great time day or night — Tennessee," Parton says before an announcer chimes in over scenes of Graceland, the Great Smoky Mountains and several other Tennessee attractions.
Then, Parton turns to Presley and says, "Let's pick it up a little bit, honey. There's all kinds of things to do in Tennessee. But next time, let's take the pink Cadillac."
Susan Whitaker, the state's tourism development commissioner, said the ad was conceived by Memphis advertising agency Chandler Ehrlich and had to be approved by Elvis Presley Enterprises and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM). The process took about six months.
The ad is being aired in 14 cities within easy driving distance of Tennessee, including St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
Tennessee hosted 44 million visitors in 2004 and tourism is a nearly $11 billion industry for the state, employing more than 177,000 workers, according to the Department of Tourist Development.