Ford Airport commits $310K to extend Fly Ford ad campaign


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The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is extending its Fly Ford ad campaign for another three months.

The board voted to spend another $310,000 on the awareness campaign, which was initially launched last year and ran for six months. It used television, radio, billboard and online spots to remind travelers in the 13 counties that the airport typically serves to keep it top of mind for their traveling needs.

“This was our first attempt at advertising since I’ve been here, 18 years,” said Phil Johnson, Ford Airport’s deputy executive director. “We have not had a mass advertising campaign such as this. . . . so we launched this last year and wanted to see (if this) is something we want to do in the future. We got good results, good feedback from the surveys that were conducted afterwards, comparing with the surveys we’d done before, and it was definitely something that the board wanted to continue.”

Of the additional money provided, $250,000 will go directly to pay for advertising buys and the other $60,000 will go to Clark Communications for its creative and consulting services on the project.

“We didn’t want to lose the goodwill that we’d already created with the original advertising,” Johnson said. “Also, there’s still value in that creative that was done, so we wanted to go back out and not be dark for too long. Get back out there with our message.”

The majority of the advertising will run in Grand Rapids, Holland and Muskegon, but Johnson said ads also will be placed in Kalamazoo, Lansing and Traverse City.

Though officials believe that Ford Airport does remain top of mind for most area travelers, they don’t want to rest on that fact. Some of the smaller area airports have increased advertising in the Grand Rapids area, and Ford officials don’t want to take any chances.

The board is still considering to what extent it wants to continue advertising in the future.

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