Ad campaign proposed to promote city of Columbia

Thursday, August 26, 2010 | 7:44 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Missouri radios could soon tout the entertainment, dining and attractions of Columbia.

The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau is asking for $104,000 as part of its budget proposal to pay for a marketing campaign promoting Columbia’s festivals and image as an entertainment and dining district.


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The Columbia City Council will vote on a final budget on Sept. 20.

“Part of that is print, and part of that is two billboards on I-70," said Lorah Steiner, executive director of the tourism bureau. “The $104,000 is not all radio."

The radio ads are the most influential way to promote the campaign, Steiner said.

“We thought radio gave us good penetration and good coverage in the markets that we wanted to hit," she said.

Jefferson City-based Learfield Communications will distribute the 60-second radio advertisements. The advertisements, Steiner said, will bring up multiple aspects of the city.

“It talks about our festivals, it talks about The District, it talks about Columbia being a feeling,” Steiner said.

The advertisements, Steiner said, will target 25- to 60-year-olds.

“That’s a big spread, but that’s our audience,” Steiner said. Attractions such as biking the Katy Trail and 9th Street Summerfest makes the age demographic broad, she added.

On top of the large age group, the advertisements will also target rural markets.

“Columbia is a favorite of the rural market because it’s seen as a friendly, easily navigated, not threatening city that still has broad cultural offerings,” Steiner said.

One of the festivals to be featured is the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival. The tourism bureau is a sponsor of the festival.

The bureau has helped promote the blues festival through print, radio and out-of-market media including in the Lake of the Ozarks area, Thumper Entertainment President Betsy Farris said. Thumper organizes the annual festival.

“The convention has really allowed us to extend our advertisement reach regionally,” Farris said.

To measure the effectiveness of the advertisements, the tourism bureau will tally the number of views of their promoted website, — a website linked to the tourism bureau's website.

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