Crs take axe to ad budget

PERTH’s new councillors have slashed the city’s advertising budget by $1.26 million despite a warning from staff shoppers could drift to competing centres. 

The cut to ads and external PR consultant spending was prompted by a motion from councillor Brent Fleeton at the December 15 meeting.

“Social media likes is not enough to warrant the dollars we have seen being spent so far. We need time and money to get things right before going back to agencies to sell the city again in a big and expensive way,” Cr Fleeton said.

He proposed halting all ad campaigns after promotions have run for the Australia Day activities the city chooses to replace the cancelled Skyworks. 

Council staff warned “retreating from paid marketing and promotion will allow competitors, such as Crown Perth, Fremantle, big box shopping centres and other high street areas to take an increased share of voice and convert these consumers to paid visitors at the expense of Perth. 

“The impact is likely to be felt immediately and could extend into future years as city marketing is turned off and on.”

Consumer surveys show Crown already nudges out Perth CBD when it comes to where people go for dining and entertainment, and for shoppers the CBD is only narrowly in first spot above Westfield Carousel. 

The current million dollar “Always On” year-round advertising plan was approved by the state-government appointed commissioners in July, adding to the short-term campaigns that run a few times a year for big events like Heritage Perth Weekend, free parking periods, or the school holiday retail campaigns.

But Cr Fleeton’s fellow newbie councillors agreed to hit the pause button after February 1. 

Cr Fleeton’s motion also requires council to approve bringing in any future consultants or agencies for ad campaigns. 

by DAVID BELL

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