TDC Approves working with MTVu for Spring Break

by November 6, 2008 • 7 comments

The Tourist Development Council approved moving forward with MTVu for promoting Spring Break 2009.  I guess at this point, it is too late to “go back to the drawing board.”

Here is the evolution of how it all went down.

The original MTVu proposal included a 10 day village with 8 concerts over 4 days, 300 30 second TV ad spots, 10 million online impressions, a database by which to collect user contact info (mobile numbers, email addresses, etc.), and a few more things.

The whole proposal was discussed during a marketing committee meeting and overall a motion was made to approve moving forward, but with the stipulation that the TDC wanted the price to be lowered to $200,000 (stemmed from what some believe as an effort to come up with less co-op money).

When MTVu heard about this, they weren’t that happy and came back with a proposal that was just more than half of their initial proposal for 20% less money.  Of course, that wasn’t gonna work for the TDC.  After calming MTVu down, Dan Rowe, et.al. was able to negotiate 250 30 second TV ad spots, 10 million online impressions, database collection, a 10 campus kick-off tour featuring Panama City Beach as a spring break vacation destination, featured premium placement on the MTVu hub page (what does that mean??), and a link back to the micro site (from where???).

Dan explained that some of the benefits of working with MTVu include that they are regulated by the FCC, they have a brand to protect, that they do NOT advertising any alcoholic products, will not publish any film/pictures of alcoholic related activity or drunk students, and that they are good for our image and our initiative to vacation responsibility.

The board stressed their desire to not spend more than $150,000, and that the rest MUST come from co-op sponsors.  Staff (Dan and co.) have so far received commitments for co-op in the amount of $50,500 and anticipates that number to grow as we come closer to spring break.  All additional funds generated will go first to operational costs associated (costs can be up to $90,000 above and beyond the $150,000 – someone correct me if I’m wrong here), then go to paying the TDC back for the initial $150,000 investment.

This year, compared to last year, there are actually three categories for co-op sponsors:

  • Lodging – hotels, condos, resorts, etc.
    • There will be two levels of sponsorship opportunities, premium and all the others.  Premium will be limited to 6 advertisers and will have premium placement on the main lodging page, and all the others will be on a page linked to through an “all offers”, or “all other offers” text or graphic link from the main lodging page.
  • Food/entertainment – restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. For this category, there are unlimited opportunities available, for premium and otherwise.  The premium sponsors will have the opportunity to have their specials, etc. broadcasted to the TDC database via text messages (that is supposed to be geo-targeted).
  • Retail/attractions – the new element (can’t beleive this never existed before), includes retails stores or services such as Victoria Secrets or California Cycles.  This category will have the same premium “text message” opportunity as the food/entertainment category.

There are a lot of cool things that can be done with text messaging marketing.  I’m not sure the geo-targeting aspects are all they are cracked up to be as they require to user to have an application up and running on their phone in order to receive messages, and I’m not sure that students will be walking around with their phones open and an app running, or if they’d even start the app in the first place.

Also, with doing just plain text message advertisements are still limited to 160 characters per messasge, which can get used up pretty quick.

Can this be done without MTVu, I’m sure of it.  However, at this point, what are the alternatives?  I don’t know, and neither does the TDC.  I’m sure they would be open to suggestions of anyone that could come in, set up a whole online marketing campaign with millions of impressions, put on a fairly large scale show with several concerts, incorporating a variety of web and tv posibilities and do it all for a package price.  Anyone?

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1 Kirk Lancaster November 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

Congrats to Dan Rowe and Susan Estler for negotiating a $200K deal with MTVu, without losing “huge chunks” of the plan as I predicted, and for securing the co-op dollars to date.

I still bet the final price tag will be closer to $250K than $200K, especially if they’re successful in executing the web and mobile data-gathering, instant messaging, email campaigns and measurement as laid out. We’ll see.

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2 Hugh November 8, 2008 at 9:40 am

Jason, since the TDC can’t understand the desires of the majority of residents in PCB to eliminate the MTV spring break, perhaps we can get the question put to a vote on the next election ballot to prohibit the use of funds for spring break promotion. If the individual establishments wish to support the entire cost there is nothing we can do about it.

My suggestion is to have the police enforce the law and thereby make the trip PCB less desirable than a trip to Daytona.

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3 Carl Langford November 11, 2008 at 6:53 am

I will NOT rent my condo during that time. Period! If MTV and the college kids where shoved aside then PCB would becomd enhabited by a more desirable crowd. I’ve operated this way for three years now and my condo and it’s contents are still intact.

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4 Roger November 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I would really like to see PCB move away from the Spring Break popularity. It is known nationwide as a party town and prohibit families from moving there. I was under the assumption that this is the direction PCB wanted to go in in the next couple of years. The only way for that to happen is to stop using the funds for that purpose. I understand though commercially it brings in A LOT of money and that is hard to say no to. It will be hard to replace that money initially by families but it will not even start until the image changes.

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5 Les November 19, 2008 at 8:54 pm

I am amazed at what happens to Condo’s I rent for the winter months. I look at them in April and when I return in December I hardly recognize the one I rented. One word TRASHED. This coming season (2008/09) I just spent over a thousand dollars to get down here (flight and rental car) in November to make sure this years is not trashed.
I will be glad when the airport is finished. I just paid $1132.00 for my daughter and 2 granddaughters to fly into Pensacola! PCB would have cost $1400 plus. However I like PCB over any other Fla. area. GO BUCKEYES

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6 Donald Docken December 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm

It seems to me that this is a fundamental issue that is dividing the beach residents !!! What is the “game plan” to transition PCB from the MTV image to a more “family” focused visitor ??? Until we know the answer and all agree, we’ll continue to be divided and suffer from the consequences !!!!

Thanks, Don

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7 Gary September 21, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Jason, I have a question. Did the sms text marketing ever get evaluated as to whether it worked or had any impact on last year’s spring break? I am very interested in SMS and was curious how it ended up being handled and if it was effective at all.
Thanks,
Gary

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