OCEAN CITY – Members of a resort committee will meet with the town’s advertising contractor to review plans for next year’s advertising campaign.
On Tuesday, Transit Manager Rob Shearman presented the Ocean City Transportation Committee with an update on bus and tram advertising. While revenues from bus advertising exceeded projections, he told committee members more time was needed to bolster the tram advertising program.
“I really think we need to give them another year to really get the tram advertising program spun up to full speed,” he said.
Last fall, the Town of Ocean City hired Gateway to replace Vector Media 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 placed on the back of the Boardwalk trams.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Shearman presented advertising revenues, which totaled $179,050.42 for the bus fleet and $20,949.58 for the tram fleet. He noted that Gateway expects bus advertising to exceed last year’s revenues by 11%.
“So as much as we expressed some concerns about how they’re spinning up and getting started, I’ve said more than once at these meetings we do need to allow some time for them to spin up, especially in light of the fact that the transition from Vector to Gateway was less than ideal in some ways,” he said. “At least in terms of their performance on the bus route, they’ve met expectations there.”
Shearman noted, however, that more time was needed to improve tram advertising revenues. His report showed tram advertising revenues dropped 57%, from $48,519, in 2022.
“In terms of tram revenue, they’ve fallen significantly short of what Vector had in tram advertising revenue last year, prior to the transition,” he said.
Shearman noted, however, that advertising revenues did not include digital advertising, which would be added in next year’s report once the digital signs are up and running on the Boardwalk trams. He said the response from a free digital advertising trial has been positive.
“They’ve received feedback from those companies and other companies about getting in on the program in 2024,” he said.
Mayor Rick Meehan questioned if the committee could meet with Gateway representatives at the beginning of the year to hear their advertising plans for the 2024 season. Shearman said the committee could meet with the agency in February.
“Based on their success with the buses, I think we need to give them another year to really prove themselves with respect to the tram advertising program,” he said.