Resort Wants More Ads On Cable TV

OCEAN CITY –With the 2008 summer season approaching, Public Works and the Mayor and City Council sat down this week to discuss the locally focused media campaign for bus service for 2008.

Public Works Director Hal Adkins appeared before the Mayor and Council this week, requesting the annual allocation of roughly $50,000, to be used to contract with Independent Media.

The “Ride the Bus” campaign is addressed each year in an effort to educate visitors about the availability of Ocean City’s bus service.

“We’ve modified slightly from last year. We’re proposing to massively expand our partnership with Comcast,” Adkins said, recommending that the town strengthen TV advertising.

While local print and radio media will continue to be a source of advertising in 2008, TV and the Internet will be greater utilized as advertising outlets.

“We are hoping to tap into some of the social networking sites of some of our men and women of today,” Adkins said, referencing sites such as youtube.com, myspace.com, and facebook.com.

“We have negotiated a phenomenal, but time-sensitive, package with Comcast, which will allow us to more than double the number of networks carrying our ads, quadruple the actual number of spots to be aired and slash our per-spot cost by nearly half,” Adkins said, noting a 20-percent savings if the city acts by Jan. 31.

Per-spot costs will drop from $4.09 in 2007 to $2.45 in 2008 if the town acts before Jan. 31.

Adkins proposed an increase in 30-second TV spots for 2008, explaining that commercials would run roughly 8,166 times in 2008 compared to only 2,000 times in 2007.

In addition to the Resort Video Guide, spots will air on 19 different networks including Animal Planet, BET, Bravo, Comedy, CNBC, Court, E!, ESPN2, Family, Food, FX, MASN, MTV, Sci-Fi, Spike, Cartoon, Weather, VH1, Versus, TNT, Discovery, ESPN, USA, TBS, Lifetime, TVLand, TLC, CMT and CSN.

While the use of TV and Internet outlets will increase, print media will decrease. Adkins recommended spending less money on table tents and brochures than in past years.

Councilwoman Nancy Howard suggested that Adkins partner with MGH, the town’s advertising firm, in spreading the word about bus service.

Councilman Jay Hancock suggested there be a shift in the focus of the commercials. “I just don’t see enough promotion going out to the non-drunk segment of our bus ridership,” said Hancock.

“I hear you loud and clear. It caters to family and children,” Adkins said of the new TV spots.

Councilwoman Mary Knight suggested targeting Northside Park events, such as soccer and lacrosse tournaments, as an advertising venue, noting that families could travel by bus to downtown areas during between-game breaks.

The council voted unanimously, with Councilman Jim Hall absent, to approve the  media campaign and the $50,000 annual contract.

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