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New Ad Campaign Challenges California Stereotypes

Kim Kardashian for California Tourism

When I left my native California for New York, people would say (and still do), "You were probably a tanned surfer dude hanging out in hot tubs in Malibu and meditating on hilltops when you weren't partying with rock stars on the Sunset Strip." Which in my case happens to be true. But I still need to remind my East Coast friends that not everyone in the Golden State is like me.

Now, however, I don't have to do any more explaining. A new advertising campaign from the state's tourism department, launching nationwide on Monday, dispels the myths of living in California. Sort of.

The tongue-in-cheek commercial, titled "Misconceptions" (watch it, above) employs some of the most beautiful and famous California landmarks as backdrops for celebrities who take issue with the state's stereotypes. The 30-second spot features Olympic skier Shannon Bahrke on a gorgeous Squaw Valley ski slope, the Jonas Brothers in front of an ultra-pink Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, Kim Kardashian reading a quantum physics book next to a rooftop hotel swimming pool (looks like the London West Hollywood to me, yes?), and Betty White driving a golf cart through a Hollywood studio backlot. Although it left me homesick, the commercial will leave most people with a smile.

One more misconception, by the way, is that Californians say "Cali." No they don't. There, I feel better now.

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Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.

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