(Aug. 29, 2014) If you’ve taken notice of the Boardwalk’s new “McTram,” there may be more, and hopefully different, tram advertising coming next season.
Last week, the city began piloting the idea of advertising on the Boardwalk trams by installing backlit signs atop the rear car of the single vehicle.
Although Direct Media, the contractor who markets advertising on city-owned vehicles, apparently solicited a number of business contacts for opportunity, the most aggressive response and highest bid came in from McDonald’s.
“This was meant to be an example, just to see who would be interested,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “Hopefully next year, once everyone has seen the panels, some local Boardwalk businesses will pick up the spots.”
Direct Media current holds a contract through the 2018 season for sales and service of all city transit advertising, most of which consists of the laminated wraps found on city buses. The agency receives a 15 percent commission on all sales, and keeps 35 percent of the profits. The other 65 percent of net proceeds from ad sales go to the town.
Closed-door contract negotiations with Direct Media last year apparently resulted in the city expanding the contract to include backlit panels atop all eight Boardwalk trams, although only one was sold in time for the signs to be produced for the current season.
The idea to begin selling ad space on trams came up in the spring of 2013, when the city received an unsolicited proposal from MGH Advertising, which happens to be the city’s advertising agent as well as that of McCormick & Co., the owners of Old Bay.
MGH had offered Direct Media $24,000 per season to put Old Bay advertising wraps, similar to those found on the buses, on the tram tow cars.
Council, however, decided that the offered price was too low and negotiated with Direct Media to put any tram advertising contracts out to open bid.
McDonald’s’ offering price was not known as of press time.