Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 22 April 2008 17:46
Hillsboro residents may see a familiar place being promoted over the airwaves of a Wichita television station.
Starting this week, a series of 60 30-second ads promoting Hillsboro as a good place to live, play and work are being broadcast over KWCH Channel 12 this spring and again this fall as part of a locally coordinated campaign to generate interest in the community.
Clint Seibel, executive director of Hillsboro Development Corp. and Hillsboro Ventures Inc., and Christy Wulf, outgoing executive director of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, coordinated the project, which is being funded by local businesses.
“Last summer, a county-wide effort was made to sponsor a television ad campaign for Marion County,” Seibel said. “For a variety of reasons it never became a reality..”
Seibel and Wulf then invited a group of business people to discuss the possibility of a TV ad campaign for Hillsboro.
“They thought it was an idea worth checking into,” Seibel said.
Representatives from several TV stations were then invited to Hillsboro for an interview. After looking at the various options it was decided that KWCH Channel 12 would best meet the goals for the project.
The ads will be seen on KWCH Channel 12 (Wichita, Hutchinson and Salina), KBSH Channel 7 (Hays, Great Bend and Alma, Neb.), KBSD Channel 6 (Dodge City, Garden City and Liberal) and KBSL Channel 10 (Colby, Goodland and Burlington, Colo.).
That is a total of 240 ads over a three-month period and 480 ads over the six-month agreement. The ads will be seen at a variety of times throughout the day.
“This will give us a lot of exposure to central and western Kansas,” Seibel said. “The net effect should be that we have been on all year.”
The spring ad will emphasize recreation and retail, particular Marion Reservoir, which drew 396,120 visits in 2006 and generated some $8.05 million in visitor spending within 30 miles of the lake, Seibel said.
“Hopefully, the lake traffic will become more aware of Hillsboro retail businesses,” he said. “We want to let people know that when they come to the reservoir, Hillsboro is the place to stop for their supplies.
“Hillsboro has a lot of things to do here including golf, baseball, tennis, swimming and fishing. But more than that, we want people to know that we have great places to eat and to shop as well.”
The fall ad will feature Hillsboro as a great place to live, learn and work.
“We will talk about our health care, elder care, churches and educational institutions,” Seibel said. “We also want to communicate that we have an active industrial base. Whether you want to find a job or start a business Hillsboro has options for you.”
The promotion campaign will include several other features. Hillsboro will also have a 2-minute, 55-second segment on two 30-minute programs called the “Kansas Shopper” to air at 6:30 p.m. April 26 and again at 11 a.m. May 3.
The campaign is being financed by local businesses. The cost for the project is $1,650 per month.
“We figured it would take a minimum of 25 business sponsors at $400 to cover the cost for six months,” Seibel said.
All of the Hillsboro ad campaign sponsors will have their business listed on KWCH.com with a link to individual Web sites.
“We also plan to run several newspaper ads notifying the public to watch for the TV spots listing all of the sponsors,” Seibel said.
With the large number of sponsors needed to fund the project, the ad campaign will be more about Hillsboro than individual businesses, he added.
“It’s virtually impossible to give each sponsor adequate time during a 30-second ad to promote their specific business,” Seibel said.
Though the effects of community promotion via television are difficult to measure in hard data, Seibel said the experience of other communities has been positive.
“We asked that same question to some of the community leaders in Little River who sponsored an ad campaign last year,” Seibel said. “Even though it is hard to document specific results, they had more calls than expected from people who saw the TV spots.”
Kim Halbert, chief executive officer of Standstone Heights Nursing Home, said, “The campaign was very positive for our community and we are making plans to do another campaign this next year.”
Seibel said he believes the television ads are a worth investment for several reasons.
“In our present society TV is proven to be one of the most effective ways of communication,” he said. “When a picture along with sound is heard multiple times, it begins to settle into your subconscious. It seems to stay with you longer than other forms of media.”
He added that television ads promoting Hillsboro will enhance and support the printed ads and billboard placed by specific businesses.
“Whether we like it or not, being on television seems to legitimize your cause,” Seibel said. “Hopefully, when the people of this community see Hillsboro on TV they will feel a sense of community pride within themselves.”
The response of sponsoring businesses has been enthusiastic, Seibel said.
“When we began to contact businesses to sponsor our TV ad campaign we were pleasantly surprised at the positive response,” he said. “People were excited to get the word out about Hillsboro.
“The business owners of Hillsboro seem to be very optimistic about the future of our city. It didn’t take very long to find sponsors to meet our financial commitments for the campaign.
“We have business owners and managers who are willing to promote Hillsboro for the good of the entire community,” he added. “That’s what makes this such a great place to live and work. Like one person said, ‘When the water level goes up the fishing is better for everybody.’”
Seibel he hopes the enthusiasm will be contagious and that residents will help evaluate the success of the campaign.
“I’m sure as this campaign is being aired throughout the year people will make comments about seeing the Hillsboro promotion on TV,” he said. “I hope that we can hear about that kind of feedback. It will help us to measure the effectiveness of the program.”