Branson marketing genius or ineptitude?

In these tough times, when many of the shows and attractions in Branson performing day in and day out all season long could benefit from effective marketing, why spend Branson’s limited marketing resources advertising something that is either not in existence, not true or will not be in operation during the specific period being advertised? The April 7 edition of a Springfield News Leader contained a Tab Section published by the State of Missouri entitled “Missouri – enjoy the show VACATION GUIDE Spring Summer 2013 (Tab.)”

“Ah, the sheer marketing genius and ineptitude of it all,” the Ole Seagull thought as he read the full page Ad on Branson in the Tab. It was published by the organization handling the marketing of Branson, for both the City of Branson (City) and the “Tourism Community Enhancement District (TCED),” the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

As he read the Ad, the Ole Seagull just shook his head in amazement. The Ad promoted two shows as new in 2013 that are not. Even worse, one has been in Branson for three years, won’t even be open during the Spring and Summer period promoted in the Tab and, when it does open again, will only be open for about six weeks during the prime period of the year.

Does it take a marketing Solomon to know that it would have been a better use of the dollars spent on the Ad to promote one of Branson’s other shows that will actually be open and available for Branson guests, not only during the Spring and Summer period the Ad covers, but all season long? The “George Dyer Show,” which is very similar to the “Dudu Fisher Show” featured in the Ad and also features a world class tenor singer, is one such show that comes immediately to mind.

Why are the two shows mentioned included under the title “What’s New In Branson?” This will be the third season for one show with the other show mentioned being in at least its second year. Could not an argument be made that Branson’s shows might have been better served with a title promoting something devoted unique to them, the truth and shows that will actually be open during the Spring and Summer? One of many examples could have been a heading “Former America’s Got Talent Finalists In Branson in 2013” featuring The Duttons, Texas Tenors3Red Neck Tenors, Ayo’starring the Voices of Glory or Todd Oliver & Friends, all of whom are actually open during the Spring and Summer season.

Oh, but the marketing genius displayed by this Ad still has more brilliance to display as it proudly declares as new in Branson this year that , “Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline will launch from Branson Landing and zip across Lake Taneycomo up to an observation platform on Mount Branson for the most thrilling aerial view of Branson you’ll ever experience.” The thrill of the touted aerial view may or may not end up being the case, but as this is being written there is no indication that construction has even begun on the attraction.

What kind of marketing expertise would even consider marketing something as new for this Spring or Summer which hasn’t even been built? No, it’s even worse than that, something for which construction hasn’t even begun yet! Why didn’t the Ad market other attractions that are actually open for Branson visitors during the period it covered such as “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” “The Hollywood Wax Museum,” The World’s Largest Toy Museum,” “White Water,” “The National Tiger Sanctuary,” one of the Ziplines or any of the dozens of other Branson attractions that are open.

Information received from the CVB indicates that the ad “cost $20,078 and came out of the City of Branson Tourism Tax budget” which allocated a total of $100,000 to spend on print media out of this budget.” It also indicated that “the photos and editorial content was supplied… by our [CVB] marketing department” and “was based on our [CVB] ‘what’s new’ in Branson for 2013 copy.”

In an Ole Seagull’s opinion, regardless of its source, one can only marvel at the ineptitude, inaccuracy and apparent lack of editorial integrity, effort and caring the Ad represents. “But Seagull, it’s only $20,000 of the nearly $8 million the CVB spends on marketing each year.” “You’re right and that the truly scary part!” “That’s not what I meant, but I see your point.”

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