OC Ad Surge Set To Hit Soft Market

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City is spending more than ever before in advertising dollars, but the expenditure should end up getting a significant “bang for the bucks.”

MGH, the town’s contracted ad agency, outlined the advertising campaign for this year at last week’s Tourism Commission meeting and showed just how they will spend the town’s $3 million in advertising money, and gave a report on the progress and delivery date of the town’s new website.

MGH President Andy Malis said families will be the focus of the advertising campaign that will start in early May to parallel the launch of the new www.ococean.com website.

“The bulk of the site will be up and running and ready to go live about a week prior to us going forward with our advertising, and we will be adding some newer features throughout the summer. So far, we are on schedule with the website,” said Malis.

Approximately $3.04 million is earmarked for advertising spending with MGH, as the campaign will run over two fiscal years and the summer campaign, which runs from May to August, will use $1.8 million of that sum by way of radio, television, print and billboard advertisements.

“We are spending the most that we ever have before, but it is big enough that we will have enough left over to run the biggest spring campaign we ever have by almost double the money next year,” said Malis.

Since the advertising market is projected to be “very soft” this year, Ocean City could expect to see an impact increase of 77 percent with this year’s ad campaign, Malis said.

“We think Ocean City has a great advantage because we are going to have such a presence in some of the markets that we will be able to take advantage of the softness of the market this year,” said Malis.

Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and the “HLLY” (Harrisburg, Lebanon, Lancaster, and York) markets will continue to be heavy targeted, with New York replacing Richmond as additional ad placement, according to MGH.

Debbie Travers, assistant tourism director Ocean City, said the resort sits in a favorable position because it has the funds to heavily advertise in a “soft” market.

“Never before has Ocean City taken a layered approach at television advertising, running cable and regular TV ads at the same time, which is much more in tune with how people are watching television these days. So we will be much more likely to hit people more often,” Malis said. “We came through summer pretty well, but this is the best time to have this presence in advertising with the softness in the market and the economy. With any luck and things start to pick up in the economy, we will be in a position to perhaps, dare I say, spank the competition.”

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