Local Market Spotlight: Evansville, Ind.

Jan 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Evansville, Ind., CBS affiliate WEVV-TV has found several creative ways to work with local advertisers to develop ad campaigns that seem to work in the current tough ad climate. One campaign is with fast-food chain Wendy’s called “44 Frosty Friends,” because the station is Channel 44. Viewers send in their guess on when the first snowfall of the season would come. The winner gets lunch with 44 friends and a frosty once a week for a year.
WEVV General Manager Dan Robbins said it’s new revenue to the station, and it is so popular with viewers they will bring it back next year. “I don’t know if we’re going to get a snowfall. It usually snows about 12 inches, but we haven’t had any yet,” Mr. Robbins said.
According to BIA Financial Network Evansville TV revenues were $44.2 million in 2001 and are expected to be $46.9 million in 2002. Top ad categories include auto, retail and restaurants.
The station stopped doing newscasts in July 2001, but still has its live truck, which it has enlisted for sales efforts. WEVV uses it to do live remotes from car dealerships. The dealers hire their own talent, and for about two to three minutes once a week on Thursday or Friday between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., dealers can promote their autos.
“It’s just like a live commercial,” Mr. Robbins said. “Those are going over very well-it’s an additional tool along with their [ad] schedule they’re buying. None of the other stations are doing it. We’ve already got four dealerships lined up.”
In another successful campaign, WEVV took a photo of the “Everybody Loves Raymond” cast and cut it into four sections and put the pieces at four advertisers’ locations. Viewers had to go to those advertisers, pick up a piece and mail the station all four pieces to win a free trip for four on a cruise to the Caribbean.
According to Shelly Johnson, VP and media director at Evansville-based ad agency Keller Crescent Co., the market has been “very” soft.
“Local spot buying in both radio and television in third- and fourth-quarter ’01 has been down,”Ms. Johnson said. “My fourth quarter for every client was down 30 percent for television over last year. It’s unheard of in fourth quarter. Usually fourth quarter is the best quarter. I think the stations are overly optimistic that political is going to come in and pop it back up.”