Vendor Expects Jump In Bus, Tram Advertising Revenue; Boardwalk Jeeps Will Be Wrapped

OCEAN CITY – A discussion on bus and tram advertising highlighted a resort committee meeting this week.

On Tuesday, members of the Ocean City Transportation Committee met with representatives of Gateway Outdoor Advertising, the town’s new advertising contractor, to review the company’s progress on bus and tram sales.

While the committee earlier this year expressed concerns over advertising sales, officials this week say the company is now on target to reach its goals.

“I don’t want to be overoptimistic,” said Gateway President and CEO Craig Heard. “But I’m saying now that the interest we have is pacing as to what our expectation was when we originally proposed it.”

Last fall, the Town of Ocean City hired Gateway to replace Vector Marketing as its new advertising contractor. The company has been tasked with overseeing advertising on the town’s bus and tram fleets, as well as digital advertising that will be placed on the back of the Boardwalk trams.

In an update this week, Heard told committee members the company was working with Ink Splash, a local printer, to wrap the trams Jeeps. Tom Perlozzo, the town’s director of tourism and business development, said each of the Jeeps would be outfitted with Ocean City branding.

“It will be different colors associated with the brand and the color palette and style guide we’ve established …,” he explained. “We are going to color each of the Jeeps, and the trams will have a wave [design] to it.”

Heard noted that the company has also ordered digital signage, which will be installed on the back of each Boardwalk tram by the end of the month.

When asked if Gateway had sold any digital advertising, Heard said it had not.

“There’s one saying in our industry,” he replied. “Don’t sell something you ain’t got yet.”

Heard, however, said Gateway would push digital advertising sales after the screens are installed. He also highlighted the company’s efforts to promote bus and tram sales through newspaper ads and mailers.

While the previous company generated $303,000 in sales revenue last year, he said Gateway is expected to generate roughly $373,000.

“Right now, we’ve booked $151,000 and proposals outstanding waiting for decisions are $221,000,” he said.

Councilman Tony DeLuca noted that Gateway had added six new customers. He questioned if all existing advertisers had returned.

Gateway Market Manager Terry Dempsey said the town had lost some clients. He noted, however, that the town should see more advertising this year overall.

Heard agreed. He added that revenue projections did not include digital advertising sales.

“There’s no revenue in this for digital,” he said. “That’s a bonus. Once it goes live, we are out there immediately.”

Following Tuesday’s meeting with Gateway, town officials said they were pleased with the company’s progress.

“We’re in better condition than we were last year,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said.

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed, highlighting the partnership between the company and the town’s tourism department.

“I’m very pleased to see the progress that was made,” he said. “I think working together and having a meeting with the advertising company helped get us all on the same page, bringing Tom’s crew in to help as well. I think it’s a good team effort and it should help us immensely.”

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.