Pulaski Commissioners Undecided on TV Tourism Ads

Pulaski County Commissioners: Bud Krohn Jr., Jerry Locke, Kenny Becker

The Pulaski County Commissioners will take a bit more time to decide whether to try more TV advertising. On Tuesday, they tabled a request from the Community Development Commission to spend $22,000 to run tourism ads on Comcast cable systems in the Chicago area.

Last year, the county’s commercial aired on Chicago television during the Academy of County Music Awards and a few other programs. CDC Executive Director Nathan Origer said this year, the approach is to spread out the airings a bit more. “We do have a proposal from Comcast Spotlight, Comcast TV in Chicagoland, to do 10 weeks – not consecutive weeks, it’ll be on for a couple, off, on – but 10 weeks over the summer in nine of their geographic areas on, I think, nine or 10 TV channels that their data show would be the best for targeting our key demographics,” Origer said. He added the commercial would air 4,074 times, compared to just a few dozen last year.

However, Commissioner Kenny Becker asked whether television is more effective than online promotion. Origer said ideally, the two work together. “When we’re getting out into [an area] especially as geographically-large and as populous as Chicagoland – and we’re talking Aurora, Naperville, we’re talking Schaumburg – it’s really hard if somebody up there has never heard our commercial, unless they just type in ‘Indiana vacation destinations’ and we’re lucky enough that that comes up in their Google search and they pick that over Brown County or something,” he said. “It’s hard to know how many of them are ever going to know that our website’s there.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Bud Krohn Jr. expressed skepticism at the $22,000 cost, following last year’s advertising campaign. “I heard all the negative comments about spending that money from the community last year,” Krohn said, “but there were some good prospects, a lot of people – you see them out flooding the river, but if it was enough to spend that much money?”

Origer noted the CDC’s marketing budget has been increased to about $45,000 this year, in exchange for cuts in other areas. Krohn directed Origer to see if any Pulaski County businesses would be willing to contribute to the campaign’s cost.

While he questioned its ability to attract tourists, Krohn also seemed concerned with the tourists that are visiting. Specifically, he asked Origer if it was fair that the Town of Winamac has to deal with more garbage in the Town Park, due to the county’s tourism push.

The commissioners are expected to decide on the proposed Comcast advertising package next month.