Officials, Contractor Address Tram Ad Sales

OCEAN CITY – Officials say they are working with a new contractor to secure advertising on the resort tram fleet ahead of the summer season.

Last week, public works representatives presented members of the Ocean City Transportation Committee with an update on tram advertising. Officials say concerns over advertising sales prompted a meeting with the town’s new advertising contractor, Gateway, and that the town is now targeted to reach its goals.

“I was a very positive meeting,” said Transit Manager Rob Shearman.

Shearman told officials that Gateway was working on advertising sales with the town’s tourism department. He noted the contractor would also be responsible for installing digital ad displays on the back of the town’s trams.

“They would initially purchase and own all the hardware, and they would amortize that cost over 60% of the remaining 5 years on their initial contract term,” he explained. “They would then credit revenues derived from that sold space against that percentage until the capital investments are covered.”

In a Mayor and Council meeting Monday, Councilman John Gehrig questioned who would be responsible for advertising sales.

“Is tourism selling the ads?” he asked. “What’s going on?”

Mayor Rick Meehan, transportation committee chair, noted the tourism department was connecting Gateway to advertising sponsors.

“They are working with the new advertising agency on all of the advertising to connect them with all the businesses in town and give them leads or sponsors and other people to increase the advertising,” he explained.

Gehrig also questioned how the digital signage would be managed.

“If you are talking about the displays on the back of the trams, what’s going to happen is tourism is going to fund purchasing those displays,” City Manager Terry McGean replied. “In exchange, tourism is going to get a certain amount of time for each display to promote city events and those types of things. The remaining amount of time will be sold by Gateway, the ad agency, to other businesses and we would get the revenue from those.”

Gehrig asked if tourism would be selling the ad space to businesses.

“Is that part of their marketing plan?” he said.

McGean explained that Gateway would be responsible for advertising sales.

“Gateway is selling it to the businesses,” he said. “Tourism, the town, gets, free of charge, time and space to promote our own events as well. We get the revenue from the businesses.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.