Friday, January 28, 2022     Volume: 22, Issue: 48

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 1st, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 22, Issue 40

Solvang sets aside $35,000 for TV exposure and additional holiday entertainment

By Caleb Wiseblood

A new marketing effort in Solvang will target channel surfers up and down the coast via two 30-second television commercials slated to air across the state.

During the Solvang City Council’s Nov. 22 meeting, city officials agreed to grant $35,000 to the Chamber of Commerce, primarily to cover the costs of a television campaign promoting the city’s holiday festivities.

While IDK Events handles social media advertising of the city’s holiday festivities, the Solvang Chamber of Commerce pitched the TV approach as a way to reach an older demographic.

“The right target base is over 45 years old, and we know they watch TV. They do not look on their phones, they do not look on their Instagrams,” Tracy Beard, the chamber’s executive director, said during the Solvang City Council’s Nov. 22 meeting.

While discussing the effectiveness of TV marketing, Beard referred to the success of Solvang’s 2019 commercials, broadcasted on stations ranging between Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to Beard and the city’s staff report, the minimum number of viewers reached at any given airing during the 2019 campaign was 35,000 (the maximum was half a million).

Beard also referred to neighboring cities along the Central Coast as benefiting from TV exposure, citing some cities’ successful advertising of their Halloween and fall festivities, and current campaigns.

“You saw Cambria doing a lot of commercials—pulled a lot of people away from us during the fall season,” Beard said. “You already see San Luis Obispo and Cambria celebrating Christmas, and moving people to get them up to those areas with TV spots.”

To produce the new commercials, the Solvang Chamber of Commerce requested  $35,000 from the city’s general fund balance. While a majority of the funding would go toward production and broadcasting costs, Beard said part of the sum would be used to pay for additional holiday entertainment (separate from the public offerings already lined up in conjunction with Julefest) in downtown Solvang.

The staff report lists examples of additional entertainment as live outdoor concerts held every weekend of December, paid carolers singing on various street corners and in front of Solvang’s Visitor Center, and more. This portion of the funding would also be used to provide downtown storefronts with free holiday snacks (cookies, candy canes, apple cider, and hot chocolate) to offer patrons.

Before voting on the proposal, Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Orona and Councilmember Jim Thomas raised concerns about whether the project would amount to a “duplication of services,” specifically if there was an alternative way to use part of IDK Events $300,000 budget to cover the commercial costs instead.

“It’s not a duplication of services, or I would not be here this evening,” Beard said in response.

City Manager Xenia Bradford also responded, stating that IDK Events’ contract does not include television or radio advertising. After a 4-0 vote, with Councilmember Robert Clarke absent, City Council agreed to grant the Chamber of Commerce the requested amount. 

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