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Alternative Ad-Vantage; Best City, Best News


September 9, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Make no mistake about it. Television, radio, and print media remain the undisputed champions of the advertising industry. They have, and will continue to have, the lion’s share of the advertising-budget pie.

But in the past few years, alternative media have grown considerably, gaining an ever-larger share of the advertising pie. Indeed, alternative media are here to stay. You see their presence everywhere. Billboards sprouting all over the city; meshes wrapping whole buildings; nozzles at gasoline stations; plastic wrappers from the laundry; even displays in the bathrooms of bars, restaurants, and other public places.

It seems just about any surface that will be seen by a significant number of people has become a good candidate to feature a commercial advertisement.

There are several reasons for this phenomenon.

First, there’s the issue of dwindling advertising budgets. In the soft economy of the past three and a half years, many companies have cut their advertising budgets and have become more conservative in how they spend those budgets. Second, there’s the relatively high cost of traditional media outlets. Compared with other alternatives, television and other traditional media are very expensive. Third, many advertisers don’t need the wider coverage of traditional broadcast media such as television, radio, and even some print. Depending on their product or service, their advertising needs may be better served by a more targeted approach.

Put all these together and you can see why, as reported in our front-page story today, advertisers are flocking to an ever-growing variety of alternative media options.

Still, these alternative ways of conveying your business’ commercial pitch are no panacea. For one, their effectiveness is difficult to measure, and most of them offer only a brief, passing glance at the ads. Advertising has become a very sophisticated, highly quantitative science. Any media director from any advertising agency worth its salt would be hard pressed to recommend that a client make any significant investment in an alternative medium whose effectiveness is difficult to measure.

At the end of the day, the best media mix for the advertising needs of a particular business’ product or service is something to be determined individually. But as in everything else in business, alternatives are an advantage. Alternative media are good for businesses because they give them more options and greater exposure to make their commercial pitch to consumers. They are good for the traditional media because they force those already in the industry to become more competitive. And they are good for the advertising industry because they represent a new area in which to grow.

Best City, best news

San Juan’s recent designation as a member of the Best Cities network is a coup for which the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau deserves recognition.

It isn’t only a matter of prestige. Membership in the select group will mean a steady flow of group and convention business, which Puerto Rico will sorely need to fill the new convention center being built in Isla Grande., an organization that groups convention and visitors’ bureaus around the world, has developed standards for the groups and conventions segment of the worldwide tourism industry. Based on those standards, it evaluates cities in terms of infrastructure, transportation, air access, and tourism attractions for pre and postconvention stays.

San Juan has joined an exclusive list that today includes only eight other cities: Boston, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Vancouver, and Singapore. Although other cities will be added, it is expected the list will remain at about a dozen.

The bottom line is the opportunity for business growth that stems from the sharing of information between network-member cities. When a large group or convention meets at one of these cities, say, for example, Boston or Vancouver, the organizers receive information about the other cities in the network, with the implicit guarantee that those cities hold the same standards of excellence when it comes to hosting groups and conventions.

The title of Best City gives San Juan a very powerful marketing tool to go after group and convention business. And that’s great news, because filling up the new convention center will require all the help we can get.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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