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Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau Embraces Barter To Promote Area

What do you do when an advertising budget is cut from $420,000 to $165,000? Get creative, think out of the box...such was the reaction of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB).

ACVB turned to the city’s resources—hoteliers, restaurants and various attractions like the Atlanta Braves, Six Flags Over Georgia, Stone Mountain Park, the Atlanta Zoo, and Atlanta’s Botanical Gardens—which provided in-kind payments (free passes and tickets), rather than the usual cash donations.

Then ACVB went into action, putting together 900 packages. A typical prize would be a three-day trip to Atlanta for a family of four with tickets to four attractions.

These packages were then exchanged, along with some cash (from the $165,000 budget), on a leveraged basis to acquire 2,500 television spots and 5,400 radio ads, valued at $1.5 million.

(Ads were also run in secondary markets, including Florida cities such as Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola.)

The media moved unsold inventory, ACVB reminded millions of people about the delights of Atlanta, and the city’s resources benefited from the traffic and greater awareness that were brought about through barter.

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