I cannot remember the total dollars spent in launching a brand awareness campaign for the City of
Benton, but I was there to see all three proposals and that campaign was by far the most professional and did get a message out for the city of Benton. I voted for the marketing group that has national credentials and I believe it did get Benton on the map. At that time, the A & P commission allowed the marketing firm to determine all marketing dollars that were spent to promote any activity because the A & P commission was in its infancy and had not hired a full-time director. Once Jill came into her position, the dollars spent with the firm were redirected and those decisions were recommendations from the executive director office. The Comfort zone was determined as a phone poll, citizens input groups, and marketing tests results. So, did it not appeal to you. I guess not, but do you have a better idea that would appeal to the more than 1500 citizens that answered the polling questions?
This is how marketing works and unless you are in that profession, I do not know that anything would please everybody. I believe the total dollars invested in total promotion during that year and a half was around $225,000. This included all dollars spent in TV, radio, and print. It promoted campaigns like Old Fashioned Day, Sparks in the Park, Downtown Christmas (Court house lighting), Saline County Fair, Royal Theater events, and Ralph Bunch Back pack drive. It promoted amenities such as Tyndall Park, Benton Schools, Boys and Girls Club, and Gann Museum. A lot of this advertising went statewide and even regional. A prime example of an event that a lot of you may not be aware of is the PBA Rodeo. PBA announced last year that it will no longer come to Arkansas in its major circuit, because Arkansas cannot provide the animal housing necessary in a safe environment for fans. Benton had hosted this event for 10 years before it moved to Barton coliseum two years ago. This event alone brought over 3000 visitors annually to our Fair Grounds for 3 days. PBA had verbally committed to return to Benton if Benton upgraded its Fair grounds and attracted more Hotel venues for fans. Total business dollars for local businesses exceeded an additional $40,000 during the event. Maybe that will give you some idea of how A & P works to attract tourism to a city that has no real tourist attraction.