Using Name Celebrity to Promote Special Events
Focus, 08/19/1987, 2120 words.
How Effective is Your Direct Mail?
Choosing an Artist/Designer
How to Select a Modeling Agency
Jazzing Up the Billboard Industry
Focus, 04/01/1987, 2280 words.
Always the Bridesmaid: What’s Wrong in Philadelphia’s Wooing of Corporate Relocations
Focus, 02/04/1987, 3768 words
How Meeting Planners Rate Philadelphia
Conference Centers Breed Confusion
Marketing: In Search of an Audience
The Challenge of Meeting Publicity
Convention Bureau: Selling the City
Focus, 09/10/1986, 2911 words.
Focus, 05/07/1986, 1518 words.
Eagle Associates Soar With Confidence
By Thomas Derr
Philadelphia, PA, US -- WHEN America's founding fathers gathered in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence a little over 200 years ago, it was hometown celebrity Benjamin
Franklin who wryly remarked to the gathering of rebels: "Now we must all hang together or shortly we shall hang separately."
Earlier this year, employees of Eagle Associates, the in-house advertising agency of John Wanamaker, the landmark Philadelphia department store chain, were faced with a similar proposition. Following its purchase of the 16-store Wanamaker's operation, new owner Woodward & Lothrop (itself a 15-store chain based in the Washington, D.C. area) announced it would consolidate its operations in Washington.
That decision meant the end of what was one of the region's largest in-house advertising operations, with annual billings of approximately $25 million.
NO FOREWARNING: Apparently executives at Carter Hawlye Hale (the group that sold Wanamaker's to Woodward & Lothrop) had no forewarning that such a move was being planned. But according to some of the employees at Eagle Associates, it was something that might have been foreseen.
"We had a feeling there would be changes among the employees simply because of the proximity of the marketplace," explains Liz Sweet, director of media services for the now-defunct department. "It was almost as if those markets actually touched. We have 16 stores, they have 15 stores in Maryland and Delaware. And here they were coming up to crack the Philadelphia market as Wanamaker's. So we knew there was a possibility of cutbacks."
Sweet says she and her associates would have preferred the new owners to have kept the entire department intact in order to maintain a continuity in the Wanamaker's identity. But the size of the combined operations made such a plan economically unfeasible.
Faced with impending layoffs, the approximately 25 employees at Eagle Associates had a number of choices. A few were invited to relocate to Washington, D.C., and join the newly consolidated advertising operation at Woodward & Lothrop. Those that remained, 19 in all, were left out to hang.
The problem facing the group was relatively straightforward -- how to get back into the job market. But while a number of the Eagle Associates employees could boast of many years of experience on both the agency and the retail side, some of the other employees -- except for some freelance projects -- had worked only at Wanamaker's
"We spent so much time promoting other peoples' products and services that when it came to promoting ourselves -- that's the last thing you think of," says Sweet.
Further complicating the challenge was the fact that the Eagle Associates personnel were very busy phasing out the Philadelphia- based operations while trying to look for new jobs.
MARKETING GUIDANCE: Sweet says she talked to several people in the agency world -- in particular Tom Ong of McAdams and Ong -- asking for guidance as to where the employees' portfolios and creative samples might be best marketed.
"So one day I was thinking -- we work on sales promotion all the time, so maybe we should promote ourselves. So we got together, called a meeting, and said: `Look, what have we got to lose? We've already lost our jobs.' And everybody thought it was a great idea," Sweet recalls.
From that point it became an intense joint effort to develop a complete campaign aimed at promoting the soon-to-be-unemployed advertising professionals to new would-be employers. Now a cynic may say that such a plan is a perfect example of the adage: "Misery loves company." But according to the former Eagles, a more appropriate adage is "There's strength in numbers."
The result was a direct mail package centered around a multi- fold brochure announcing "A Ton & A Half of Talent," and giving the names, positions, and home telephone numbers of the 19 new job seekers. The name was derived as a result of a joke by a professional associate of one of the Eagle employees -- that the agency "had a lot of heavyweights" working there.
According to Fred Payne, former art director of Eagle Associates, that heavyweight marker is no exaggeration. Payne himself has 33 years of experience. All told, the 19 professionals represent more than 280 combined years of experience in both retail and agency situations.
Sweet, for example, was an employee at Wanamaker for only the past two years. Prior to that, she had 25 years of advertising agency experience.
"As a result, I was very familiar with moving around among several agencies. So when it came to John Wanamaker, I knew that a lot of people really had worked their whole career there."
ANOTHER MONKEY WRENCH: According to Louise Reeves, senior designer at Eagle Associates, the fact that several of the individuals had worked exclusively on the retail side could have been an additional monkey wrench for those job seekers.
"You have to remember, that among a lot of people, especially those who have been in the retail industry -- there's an unfounded fear that they might not be able to do anything but retail artwork or retail writing," says Reeves. "But I've known a number of people over the years, especially designers, who did nothing but retail. But just let them in the door over there at Spiro, and they
went crazy over them."
Stereotyping advertising professionals with retail experience isn't fair, because they get labeled, Reeves says. And that's something the industry has to realize, she adds.
"The fact is, if you're a good art director, you can do anything. Naturally, you have an expertise. But these people here have had extensive training."
In other words, just because an individual hasn't done something doesn't mean he
or she can't do it at all.
INTERESTING CHALLENGE: Getting that point across to potential employers posed an
interesting challenge. According to Sweet, the initial mailing was limited to about 200 targeted recipients.
"You have to remember that the job market for retail is drying up -- it's not a matter of just going to another place, because those jobs were being eliminated anyway," explains Sweet. "So we were looking at companies that still seemed to maintain an in-house capability."
These included major manufacturers with in-house advertising capabilities, such as Hershey's and Campbell Soup -- also publishing firms, with direct response capabilities and direct mail printers.
In addition, the package was sent to creative directors of advertising agencies, radio and TV stations, and a number of newspapers and business publications.
"At the retail level, several people here already knew individuals that would be major factors in our effort," Sweet says. "We figured that if they couldn't use someone in their particular department, they would at least put us through to the different areas. And it seems we were very lucky -- we only had one sent back, and that was because the mailing address was wrong."
COVER LETTER: The group also created a cover letter to send along in response to requests for resumes that came in either to the John Wanamaker's office, which was available to them until June 30, or to their individual homes.
"When someone sent in the card requesting several resumes, we had a very nice letter that went in front of the resumes," Sweet notes. "Now it was each individual's personal responsibility to send in their resumes, but we had copies made of each request. So it was very well organized."
In addition, Sweet says the group was pleasantly surprised at the response it received from its initial mailing, if only because of the fact that the summer is a notoriously slow time.
According to Sweet, the direct mail piece was planned to have a maximum shelf life of two weeks. But thanks to a timely pick-up in the Philadelphia Inquirer, its effectiveness was extended a bit longer. This kind of increased media awareness is important in spreading the group's message, adds former merchandise coordinator Ernest Reed.
"The fact that you have a group of people that worked so well together and can produce something is a very major factor is job marketing skills," he says.
"This is a very small staff that generated a tremendous amount of work," agrees Reeves. "In an agency you have two to three times the number of people doing that work. It's really incredible. The only way it works is that everyone worked so close together. That was a special quality that helped enhance everyone's individual efforts."
TIGHT MARKET: The importance of that message becomes especially clear when one considers just how tight the job market is.
"We are not the only ones that are experiencing this," explains Sweet. "Several months ago 20 people at Hawthorne -- the in-house agency for Colonial Penn -- were also let go. The fact is, you have too many people out in the marketplace at once."
Thus, it places greater pressures on the individual's effort at pursuing a job.
"But this way a person will send his resume out and we act almost as agents for each other. We can do networking much better this way than on an individual basis," Sweet explains. "And it worked."
Another consideration is the fact that when the individuals scheduled interviews, they brought along resumes of other people in whom the interviewers might be interested.
Now togetherness may be fine up to a point, but naturally there have to be limits. According to Sweet, determining where the collective effort ends and individual effort begins is largely a matter of selling yourself.
"If they are interested in you when you go up for the interview, that's your individual responsibility, and your rapport with the person, and your individual talent," she explains.
While all have interviewed with one firm or another, so far three of the 19 people involved in the Eagle Associates' direct mail package have found jobs. Several others have picked up extensive freelance work as a result. And, Sweet notes, it is entirely possible that several of the former Eagle employees may decide that full-time freelance is their best avenue for success.
NOT ENTIRELY HEARTENING: As copywriter Bill Sternman suggests, the process has not been entirely heartening.
"It's a very tough market out there. Very, very tough," he says. "And that's a problem. I can write. I want to be a writer and the market is tight not only for copywriters, but for writers in general."
Still, the remaining job seekers don't appear to have reached the point of desperation.
"We're all trying to take a little time off," says Reeves. "We haven't had any time off because we knew it was coming -- so we held off on our vacations. I'm doing freelance, so I want some time off from behind the board."
"I've been putting off some employers," adds Reeves. "I don't want to start at Franklin Mint or these places just yet, because I just feel we need a little time to shift gears."
An educated guess as to when most of the job seekers would make themselves available would be September, Sweet says, which is the traditional time for pick-up business in the advertising industry. And hopefully, the former Eagle Associates will be rested up enough to return to the rigor of the agency lifestyle.
IN-HOUSE vs. 'REAL': Some people may not be aware of the similarities between in-house agencies and real agencies, Payne notes.
"You have to remember you have same positions, copywriters, art directors, and so on. Only the company structure is different in the retail shop versus the agency."
Another important difference is that results in the in-house shop generally are more immediate, Sweet adds.
According to Reeves, there was also a greater level of excitement in the in-house Wanamaker agency.
"It wasn't like these other places where you can walk into a cold building in the suburbs," she says. "You were thrust into excitement. You had the organ playing, the people coming through, and it was just alive. There was something different and exciting here. There was something about retailing, about that department store, that turns us on."
WILL EXCITEMENT CARRY OVER? But will that level of excitement and enthusiasm be transferable to the outside agency? Reed, for one, thinks so.
"The type of attitude we have learned to work with is an asset for anybody on the outside wanting to take on more people," Reed declares. "The asset is that they work well with anyone. It's not cutthroat competitiveness without real talent, which you sometimes come up against. There are no jealousies among the people in this department."
Whether or not that attitude will stand the test of time in the turbulent "outside" advertising world is anyone's guess. In the meantime, the remaining former Eagle associates may need all the rest they can get.
City Puts New Emphasis on Sports to Lure Tourists
By Thomas Derr
Philadelphia, PA, US -- It will come as no surprise to avid viewers of the recent America's Cup races hullabaloo that hitherto "unknown" sporting events, if properly marketed, can generate enormous profits.
That fact is also evident to the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. As a matter of fact, that organization recently instituted a program aimed specifically at the sports marketplace.
Named to head up the effort is James P. Tuppeny, associate athletic director at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Relays for the past 19 years. In his new position, Tuppeny will hold the title of executive director of athletics for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"The basic idea is that for many years, Philadelphia has not been getting its share of the large athletics market that exists in the United States," explains Tuppeny.
He notes that this is in spite of the fact that Philadelphia has four wonderful professional teams, several collegiate teams and several amateur teams. Faced with this situation, Tuppeny's new job is to spearhead an effort to bring more competitions into the city, as well as more clinics, meetings, tournaments, seminars, and health and recreation related activities.
CLEARINGHOUSE: "What I am trying to do is bring all the key people together -- to be a leader in this, and act as a clearinghouse of information to corporations and other entities who may be interested in getting involved from a sponsorship standpoint," Tuppeny explains. "In addition, it will be my responsibility to direct people who are interested in attracting such business and sporting events as to how to make a presentation before a committee or get on the so-called round-robin list."
The round-robin list for a tournament typically involves a pre-established rotation in location of a tournament site from year to year, he explains. Tuppeny has had experience in such events on both national and international levels, and particularly in the track and field category.
According to Thomas O. Muldoon, president of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, such a sports-oriented committee did exist for several years on a less institutionalized basis, but its success depended largely on the personal strength and abilities of the committee chairman.
"Jack Kelly was the chairman of it for a long time," Muldoon says. "Kelly had a unique ability and more time to devote to the program, plus his work and his interests kind of flowed together more than they would for most people."
One of the most impressive feats the committee accomplished under Kelly was the attraction of the NCAA basketball tournament to Philadelphia during the bicentennial year of 1976. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of Kelly and other players such as former Temple University athletic director Ernie Casales, the 1976 venture was so successful that a return engagement became a reality in 1981. But during the years since Kelly's death, that committee has been largely inactive, Muldoon notes. Thus the reason for the development of the new program.
THREE-IN-ONE: "It really came about as a result of a meeting that included David Brenner, who at that time was the city's Director of Commerce; and Bill Giles, who is our chairman; and Fred Shabel, the chairman of Spectacor," says Muldoon.
"It was their recommendation that we think in terms of making it more institutionalized and that perhaps a better place to put it would be in the Convention and Visitors Bureau."
To head up that sports division, the executive committee identified three different types of individuals. One type of candidate was someone who had tremendous contacts throughout various professional and amateur organizations in the sports world. The second type of candidate would be a "name" athlete, such as a Tug McGraw or a Garry Maddox -- people who are closely identified with the city of Philadelphia and could readily use their contacts and personalities to help promote the city. The third avenue involved hiring an individual who worked with a major local professional sports team who not only had an interest and knowledge in sports, but also had strong public relations and promotional skills.
"In the end, what we decided would be the most effective would be to get a veteran in amateur sports -- and with all his experience with the Penn Relays, we decided that Jim Tuppeny made the most sense," says Muldoon. About half of Tuppeny's time will be spent on trying to bring amateur conventions and athletic events into the city. And according to Muldoon, Tuppeny is particularly qualified to pursue such goals.
"We think that's very do-able, because in almost all cases there are not professional convention managers involved, it's usually the local guy who handles all of that," Muldoon says. "It's the guy at Penn, or the guy in Kansas City, wherever the case may be. And Jim knows a ton of those people, and knows about networking those kinds of people."
ALSO PROMOTE AMATEUR SPORTS: Another 25 percent of Tuppeny's time will be spent trying to promote some of the existing amateur sporting events that happen in the city that are not as well known to the general public either in Philadelphia or on a national basis.
"The Philadelphia Half Marathon, for example, is considered to be a real first-class event among people who follow track and running," Muldoon notes. "The people who work with the Philadelphia Marathon also work very, hard and could use some additional financial support or perhaps a slightly different marketing concept."
One of Philadelphia's most prominent annual amateur sporting events could serve as the focus for a full weekend of activities, Muldoon notes. He projects an Army-Navy Weekend that might include a college football double-header, possibly with Penn against Villanova at the Vet on a Friday night, and then the Army-Navy classic on a Saturday afternoon. Such a series, and all the accompanying
pageantry, could prove particularly attractive for television -- at least for an ESPN program, Muldoon says.
WOMEN'S EVENTS: According to Tuppeny, there are a number of other specific sporting events currently under consideration that will probably be highlighted by the new division of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. On February 25, for example, the Big East Women’s' Basketball Tournament comes here to Philadelphia for the first of a five year tour. In addition, Tuppeny is working on a women’s' pro tennis tournament that would have a tentative date for October, 1987.
"We're trying to get the Final Four basketball program for Women in 1990," says Tuppeny. "We're also trying to get several Athletic Congress track meets, the IC4As, and the NCAA field hockey championships for women in 1988 or 1989. Also in 1989, we're making an effort to get the NCAA track and field championships."
Another key amateur sport possibility is lacrosse, where the hotbed is really between Baltimore and upstate New York, Muldoon notes: "Well, where's a more logical place than Philadelphia to have the national championship every year?"
SHORT-TERM EVENTS: Other possibilities in 1990 include the sports information directors' convention and the Athletics Congress convention, Tuppeny adds. But there are more short-term events planned, as well. Over the Fourth of July weekend, for example, the National Age Group track and field championships will be held in Philadelphia, and major league baseball's summer meetings are scheduled for June and July.
"The feeling was that professional sports, in terms of bringing in events, was a little tough to do," explains Muldoon. "For example, the Super Bowl is going to go to either a warm weather city or one that has a dome. And basketball, which we've had several times, we will probably not get again unless we build a 25,000 or 30,000 seat arena."
On the other hand, championship college events such as women sports, which Muldoon says are emerging sports, as well as the wide variety conventions and other meetings that are connected with amateur sports is enormous.
Although an NFL owners' meeting can bring in a certain amount of prestige for a city, it also will account only 50 or 100 people at most. A similar meeting of athletic trainers or medical trainers from a college organization will generally bring in at least 350 attendees.
Such a plan also fits in well with the city's current hotel product, too, Muldoon notes.
"You don't necessarily need a big convention center for that kind of stuff. It requires 200 rooms, 300 rooms, or maybe 350," he says. "Although once in a while you'll get something bigger than that."
TOUCHING ALL AGES: In addition, there is the fact that an interest in sports tends to transcend all age groups, economic levels, and professional interests.
"It could involve the guy who never played sports in high school and then becomes at age 40 an avid golfer, tennis player or racquetball player," Muldoon says. "Somewhere along the line it's going to touch everybody."
And that kind of interest could be developed into important community-based support for promoting Philadelphia's home-based sporting activities to the rest of the country.
"There have been a number of people who have called here already or who have called Jim saying 'Gee, I'd like to be part of it,'" explains Muldoon.
If the effort were aimed at trying to sell tickets to a banquet, or trying to raise money for some great charity, Muldoon says he "rests assured" that nobody would ever call. But the quality and the variety of people who have expressed sincere interest in being a part of this new effort is very real.
"I guess whether we are male or female, we all seem to have a little bit of a boy or girl in us, and my guess is that most people won't mind donating an hour and a half a month to be part of it if the right event could happen," Muldoon says. "So I think it's going to work, and I think Jim, with the combination of his contacts and his enthusiasm is the right guy to do it."
PRIME TARGETS: One of the other prime targets for the new sports orientation of the Convention and Visitors Bureau is national corporations.
"A lot of the national corporations, especially product companies, already are doing a tremendous amount of sponsoring," says Muldoon. "Look at every major marathon, every major sporting event -- and especially this year with the college bowls -- you always see a Sunkist, or a Xerox, a Kraft, or a Campbell's Soup, and in most cases, the companies who do that sponsoring do not do anything
The fact that few, if any, national corporations sponsor key sporting events in Philadelphia is mainly a case of someone not making the effort to make would-be sponsors aware of the advantages that might be realized from participating in Philadelphia-based activities, Muldoon says.
Philadelphia is both the fifth largest city, and the fourth largest television market in the United States. That fact must be emphasized more if the city is to overcome the national advertisers' tendency to skip from one regional center to another -- from New York to Washington to Atlanta to New Orleans, he explains.
Apparently that message is just beginning to get out.
"We've had two companies in two weeks, major corporations, who have called us, and said they're thinking about spending some money in 1988 on a sporting event, and they asked if we had any ideas?" Muldoon notes. "Talk is cheap, but I'm not sure if before we started this sports division, that there was anyone they could have contacted to simply explore the possibility. We look at that as a real benefit."
That combination of factors -- the population and the television market that exists in Philadelphia -- will be instrumental selling tools if the city is to bring in additional convention business and sponsorship dollars from sources related to athletics. And that can be done by building on existing events.
"I think we can take some of the things that are already going on in the city and make them a little bigger, a little more special, and then get some people up there in New York and LA and Chicago to say 'Hey, why haven't we done more in Philadelphia?'" explains Muldoon.
THREE-YEAR COMMITMENT: But just how much bigger and more special is still unclear. So far the bureau has not developed any specific projections as to the amount of additional income that can be derived from new sports-related business.
"We have a marketing plan that is on a fiscal year starting July 1," Muldoon says. "And part of what we'll be doing is coming up with some numbers and goals for hotel rooms, and what we're looking for in sponsorship dollars."
According to Muldoon, it is usually the same group of companies that is involved in the sponsorship of most of the major events nationwide.
"It's also the same advertising agencies -- the J. Walter Thompson's in New York, Ted Bates -- they are all sitting there and spending or giving directions to the Krafts and the Eastman Kodaks and the rest of them, saying: 'Gee, you ought to be in this market with this kind of thing,'" he explains. "But what we're beginning to see now is that people are calling us and asking us what we have to offer. So we're still learning that part of the business a little bit."
"But I think a year from now we'll probably have a good chance to bring an awful lot of money to the city," Muldoon adds. "Right now we have a three year commitment to this program and we will certainly evaluate it as we go along. But I think within a year you'll be seeing some real results."
'We the People' Gears Up for the Bicentennial Bash: Part Celebratory, Part Cerebral
By Thomas Derr
Philadelphia, PA, US -- As plans currently stand, the bicentennial celebration for the U.S. constitution which will be held throughout 1987 in Philadelphia offers a rather paradoxical good news/bad news scenario.
The bad news is that it may not reach the level of glamour and commercial appeal of last year's Statue of Liberty extravaganza. The good news is that it probably won't have the same kind of glitz and commercialism to which the grand lady of Liberty Island was subjected.
TWO-FOLD PROBLEM: "One thing we won't be seeing in this program is 200 Elvis Presley look-alikes," says Dianne L. Semingson, president and chief executive officer of We the People 200, the organization which is coordinating the year-long celebration program.
According to Semingson, the basic problem confronting the planners of this year's bicentennial celebration is two-fold. On the one hand, the memory of last year's Statute of Liberty extravaganza places certain expectations in the minds of the media and the public at large -- especially when there is serious talk of creating a television program that will rival last year's party in New York.
"It makes it more difficult to come up with a celebration, a television program, that captures the imagination of the American public, because the constitution really is just four pieces of paper," Semingson explains. "With the Statue of Liberty you had this beautiful woman -- the symbol of liberty is much easier, more tangible, and more visual. Our challenge is much more difficult -- to try to visualize and concretize four pages for the American public."
STRIKING A BALANCE: Therefore, the challenge to We the People 200 is to have a celebration that merits putting on a national event. And that, notes Semingson, necessitates striking a balance between the "celebratory and the cerebral."
"I think the most important legacy that we can leave after 1987 in Philadelphia is a much more educated and a much more aware populace," Semingson says. "But my fear is if we cannot figure out what the hook is to capture the American people's attention -- to capture the imagination of the American people -- then we will not succeed in making them more aware and more educated. That's why I think the real challenge is in trying to balance between education and celebration."
According to Semingson, the greatest concentration of activities originally took place between the time the 55 original delegates arrived in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787, and the time they emerged from behind closed doors with a new constitution on September 17. In that sense, the greatest concentration of effort of the bicentennial celebration will mirror the same time that the constitutional convention was held here 200 years ago. Currently, there are more than 200 different events relating to the bicentennial celebration of the constitution that are scheduled to take place in and around Philadelphia throughout 1987.
STARTED EARLY: Much of the credit for the development of this year's activities belongs to Hobart G. Cawood, chairman of We the People 200 and director of Independence National Historical Park. Cawood, along with his associates in the park service, began laying plans for some kind of recognition of the constitution's 200th anniversary in 1981.
That initial planning followed closely on the heels of another 200th anniversary celebration -- the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence, which was held in 1976 and for many people simply lived up to all the expectations and pre-event hype to which Philadelphians were subjected. But according to Cawood, the experience of the 1976 bicentennial can be viewed as a positive force for this year's celebration.
"I think we may very well get as many visitors this year, or maybe even more than we did in 1976," Cawood says. "Granted, we don't have as many big conventions, and people haven't been thinking about the bicentennial of the constitution for long enough to let it sink in or to reach great expectations. But I suspect after it is over, everyone will say that this was better than the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence -- if only because we were sort of an hour late, and a dollar short, and we worked under pressure, and there hasn't been a great deal of publicity, and there hasn't been a great deal of expectations built up."
PHILADELPHIA, A FOCAL POINT: Cawood predicts that it will be an inexpensive celebration compared to 1976, but he also notes that many of the cultural institutions and educational institutions in Philadelphia will be playing a much more thorough role than they did in 1976.
"Also, I think as a result of this celebration unlike 1976, Philadelphia is going to be the focal point in 1987," Cawood adds. "In 1976, although we were the site where the Declaration of Independence was passed, there was an attempt to do bicentennial things in several communities throughout the country. This year there's no other community that is doing anything on the magnitude or in the manner of the kinds of things we will be doing. This year we're going to be
the big hog at the trough."
Cawood notes that the historical park will play host to three major exhibits during 1987. One exhibit, "Miracle at Philadelphia," is already underway at the Second Bank of the United States. It tells the story of the constitutional convention through many of the documents that were associated with it, as well as through an audio-visual program.
On May 1, at Old City Hall at 5th and Chestnut Sts., one of the original English Magna Chartas, this one dating from 1296, will go on display. May 1, is also Law Day in the United States. And according to Cawood, the Magna Charta is a kind of ancestor of the American constitution and provided much of the foundation for what our forefathers put into it. A seven minute film explaining the correlation between the Magna Charta and the constitution will accompany the document itself.
COMPUTERIZED EXHIBIT: On May 13, an exhibit called "A Promise of Permanency" (after the remark made by Benjamin Franklin about the constitution -- that it seems to offer a promise of permanency) will open at the Visitors Center.
According to Cawood, "A Promise of Permanency" will include a computerized, interactive exhibit paid for by Bell of Pennsylvania. The program will provide visitors with an opportunity to test their knowledge on the constitution, or to explore or do some personal research on the constitution or constitutional issues through the exhibits and through one of 16 personal computers that will
have many outlets tied into the computers.
"It provides the ability to pick out the issue you want to learn more about, and bring it out on film or videotape," explains Cawood. "I think it is really going to be state-of-the-art, because the people who are designing the system for us also have done computer exhibits for IBM and for Disney World."
GOVERNOR'S BALL: In addition, We the People 200 will erect a pavilion on Independence Mall to serve as the site for a huge assortment of activities, festivals, programs, and daily concerts by musical groups from all 50 states. For example, it will be the site of an international festival -- the "Festival of Nations," as well as the Governors' Ball, on the evening of May 24 -- a costumed party for the governors of the original 13 states and their guests, and the pavilion will serve as the meeting place for a joint session of the U.S. Congress on July 16.
During the day of May 24th, the 13 governors will host a Governors' Conference, which will explore the current state of the states -- with particular emphasis on issues such as how the system of federalism has worked, the relationship between the federal government and each governor's own state government, and what has happened to the system through the years.
"Each governor will bring with him the head of his bicentennial commission, a scholar, probably from a university in his state; a high school student, and they will be part of the delegation from each state," Cawood explains. "The next day is the actual 200th anniversary of the opening of the constitutional convention, and the governors will participate in those opening exercises on May
During that same weekend, there will be a 1787 Philadelphia festival which will seek to recreate for modern-day Americans what the second largest English-speaking city in the country was like in 1787, notes Semingson.
"The late 1700s was a time of great enlightenment in this country," she explains. "That's why we think it would be especially interesting to see people in costumes, and have great oratorical debates out on Independence Mall. That would have been very common in 1787. So I think that activity will be a fun and educational festival to reenact what life was like 200 years ago. It will be very accessible to the public -- and very festive, and in the interest of the educational emphasis we are seeking."
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: According to one area educator and public official, activities such as the one described above, which is geared primarily at highlighting First Amendment freedoms, "really get at the heart of what we should be thinking about, at least from the historian's perspective -- our government and the constitution and its contribution to American development, American civilization."
Lawrence Curry is a professor of history at the Philadelphia College of Art, editor of the Valley Forge Journal, a publication of the Valley Forge Historical Society, and a former Montgomery County commissioner. That background gives him an unusual perspective into just how important a celebration such as the bicentennial of the constitution can be in explaining the importance which this 200 year-old document still has to the average citizen in 1978.
TOWN MEETINGS: One major attempt to bring home the importance of the U.S. constitution to the average citizen involves a series of 12 town meetings that will be held periodically throughout the year in different neighborhoods of Philadelphia. According to Semingson, each of the town meetings will pick a different subject which has constitutional bearing.
There will be an issue of Abortion and the Constitution which will be held in the Northeast. And discussion on the issue of a clean environment will occur in the Bridesburg area, which has several industrial and chemical plants.
"Each of the 12 will be held in a different neighborhood and will have a different topic," Semingson says. "And each topic has been selected for that particular neighborhood. The question is: 'If the environment is the biggest issue in our neighborhood, what does the constitution say about that? Is there a relationship?' And I think it is going to be an exciting way to bring the
constitution alive and make it relevant to the individual guy on the street, and the individual guy who is living in a rowhouse."
According to Curry, the town meeting activities bring home to the community the importance at least of municipal government or a borough government, and of government in general.
Curry notes that the challenge of explaining the importance of this idea is particularly important today, 200 years after the constitution was written, when the cry of "get government off our backs" has gained increasing play among certain political leaders.
In fact, the involvement of government in certain aspects of society represents some democratic sense of the majority at work -- desiring protection of the environment, regulations in industry, and so forth, he says.
AS A LIVING DOCUMENT: "I think the constitution for most people has a symbolic role, and not a real or immediate role," Curry explains. "In that sense, the celebration is in part celebrating some of the symbolism of the constitution. That's why I think it is important to look for some kind of program to show both how that constitution structured the government and the significance of the
government that was structured by it -- not only in the 18th century, but as it evolved."
For that reason, Curry points to activities such as the interactive computer exhibit -- "The Promise of Permanency" -- as possible ways of clearly explaining the role which the constitution has in affecting critical modern issues, and subsequently, the lives of individual citizens.
"Such a program helps to emphasize that idea of permanent government and how some of those issues can be resolved, but at the same time keeping the document flexible so it would be responsive to critical issues in subsequent periods of our history," Curry says. "That's what is so unique about this document. And I think that uniqueness -- its flexibility, is something that should be stressed."
"Times change," Curry adds. "And the brilliance of the constitution is that it changes with the times -- and the citizenry can use that authority to respond to their current problems."
TV PROGRAMS: Other plans in the works call for major television programming that will be produced by Smith-Hemion Productions, who Semingson describes as being "the most preeminent television programming producers in the country today."
Included in their credits are Baryshnikov on
Broadway, and specials for Ann-Margaret, Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra, to
name but a few.
"We don't know yet which network will be involved -- it's up to the producers as part of their contractual arrangement with us to go to the networks and sell them a program," Semingson explains. "But we are hoping that there will be several hours of programming in which we will include the televising of the Grand Federal Procession, which of course will be a parade to end all parades."
It was on July 1, 1788, that Philadelphians first learned that enough states had ratified the constitution for it to become the law of the land. Within four days, by July 4, the population of Philadelphia had swelled from 35,000 to 45,000 and the city played host to the largest parade ever held in the New World.
PARADE OF INDUSTRIES: "According to a 1788 account by Pennsylvania Judge Francis Hopkinson, the procession was made up primarily of all the industries that existed in the country at that time -- the trades particularly: butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, hide tanners, blacksmiths, and such," Semingson says.
As described in part of Judge Hopkinson's account, one of the floats of the parade was a Greek pavilion with 13 columns, ten of which stood upright -- representing the states that had ratified the constitution, and three columns lying down to represent the three that had not yet. Another float consisted of a large ship that was built on a flatbed which in turn was pulled by horses.
According to the account, this was the first time that the terminology "ship of state" had ever been used, Semingson says.
"I guess the one I like the most, from an emotional-sociological standpoint -- was a float built by the bakers," Semingson explains. "They constructed a big working oven on a flatbed, and as they went down the parade route, they gave out small loaves of bread to the people along the way. And the sign on the flat was 'In order that Americans should not go hungry.'"
According to Semingson, current plans are to use Judge Hopkinson's account of the procession to create a new Grand Federal Procession on September 17, 1987 -- Constitution Day. This year's procession will begin from the four points of the compass and conclude opposite the Liberty Bell on Independence Mall. Satellite parades will take place simultaneously in cities across the nation.
But like the 1788 parade, this year's parade will also have American trade and industry as
one of its major focuses, Semingson says.
"You may very well see a float where people are on mobile phones, or a float featuring the hotel and communications industry," she says. "I'm sure the automobile industry and the labor unions also will play an important part. The bottom line is that the Grand Federal Procession should turn out to be truly magnificent, but also very jolting and a real statement to where this country has come in the last 200 years."
The Grand Federal Procession will lead up to four o'clock, when there will be a great rally led by the three branches of government created by the constitution -- represented by the President, the Chief Justice, and leaders of Congress, as well as a very solemn reenactment of the signing of the constitution. The ceremony will include President Reagan, and other celebrities who will represent
original signers such as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and others.
WHO PAYS? Planning for all this activity is one thing. But paying for it is another matter all together, as Semingson is quick to point out. In fact, separate corporation was recently established to enable celebration planners to legally raise the necessary funds and to sign required contracts so that the We the People 200 plans could be carried out without a hitch.
"We've done a lot of fundraising locally already -- the foundations here have been terrific -- we've raised $7.38 million to date," Semingson says. "So the programs are in good shape. We need to market the celebration, we need to publicize it, we need a very strong public relations/promotion campaign. And we need money to do that."
She notes that currently there is a strong national marketing effort underway to raise the need funds, part of which involves approaching corporations for donations and sponsorships.
"I think it's important, but I don't think corporations should be thinking in terms of making 'donations' or 'contributions' -- I think they should be thinking about their marketing dollars," Semingson says. "They can approach this thing intelligently, just as the corporations that were involved with the Statue of Liberty and the Olympics did. In the end, the ones who were most satisfied with their participation were those who figured out a way to self-liquidate their investment. In other words, if you have a distribution system, you can have each of your distributors participate so that the parent company isn't putting out the whole $2 million itself."
FOUNDING SPONSORS: Currently the celebration organizers are going after 13 "founding sponsors" in the two to three million dollar range, and Semingson apparently feels very optimistic about the group's chances of reaching that level.
"We think that those national sponsors that we're dealing with currently that are most excited about joining us are the ones who are really figuring out a way to market product or image by this celebration," she says.
But the We the People 200 committee is by no means working alone in its marketing efforts. According to Sam Rogers, Vice President/Communications for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, 100 percent of the advertising budget has been allocated for this year's We the People 200 celebration. His reasons are fairly clear.
"Certainly there is a great deal of interest in the celebration itself on the national level, and from our standpoint, a lot of potential business -- visitor business, on a national level," he explains.
NATIONAL ADVERTISING: That budget, which is worth approximately $1.7 million is broken down into several different components. The biggest piece, $1 million, will be devoted to major magazines such as Time, Travel & Leisure, Signature, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony, Rogers says. In addition, there will be a second magazine advertising campaign targeted toward the history-oriented publications -- Americana, American Heritage, American History Illustrated, and so on.
"We also have $400,000 in newspaper advertising as part of an ongoing campaign which we flushed out 15 months ago, targeted toward events on key weekends," Rogers says. "So now as we move into the We the People era, the events we will be promoting, including some of the traditional annual ones, will tie into that. And that campaign basically involves papers from New York to Washington, including some of the local papers -- the Inquirer Inquirer, Daily News -- depending on the event and the interest, the demographics, etc."
Another $300,000 will be used for trade and international trade advertising, with some substantial work being done in England, Germany, Canada -- aimed basically at tour operators in those countries. Other efforts are focused on a travel trade advertising, and efforts to attract bus and tour operators, he says.
COMPANY IS COMING: In addition, there is a program sponsored by the bureau entitled Company Is Coming, which will train the first line ambassadors, those people who visitors see the first time -- the concierge at a hotel, the taxi cab driver, an information booth attendant -- so that visitors to the city will have an easier time getting around.
"That's terrific, and that's exactly the kind of support we need in lots of areas," Semingson notes. "That's the Convention & Visitors Bureau's job, and it's great that they're doing their job -- but now we need to make sure that PhilaPride is doing their job with the cleanliness of the city, and that city
services are above and beyond what they may normally be."
"But hopefully this will set a model for every year to come. If we can do it in '87, why can't we do it in '88 and '89?" she says. "So I'm hoping that one of our lasting legacies, besides a better educated populace, is that we leave models for how things can get done in this community."
SUBSTANTIVE: That makes this year's celebration just a little but more complicated than last year's Statue of Liberty extravaganza. So comparisons to that event are probably unfair. The Statue of Liberty, after all, was a visual symbol for millions of immigrants. The constitution is also a symbol, but one that is much more esoteric.
"But then, again, we feel that the constitution is more meaningful, more substantive," Semingson says. "No doubt, the Statue of Liberty was a great rallying point. But the Statue of Liberty was given to America by the people of France largely because they were so impressed with our constitution. They admired what we had here and they said 'Why can't we have what America has?' And they were referring to the constitution. So we wouldn't have a Statue of Liberty if it wasn't for the constitution."
Thus the challenge remains -- how to create a program that is at the same time worthy of such a historic document, meaningful, educational, fun and entertaining for the general public.
The program that is in place is impressive. And if it can be carried out successfully, that challenge will no doubt be fulfilled. But just in case, what about 200 Benjamin Franklin look-alikes?
By Thomas Derr
Philadelphia, PA, US -- IN recent years, the competition among cities to build major convention centers has exploded. New, modern facilities worth hundreds of millions of dollars have appeared in San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Atlantic City is building two -- a new municipal civic center, and a new $230 million hotel/casino and bowling center that is being planned by the Showboat Hotel & Casino and which will connect directly with two other casino/hotel facilities. These are but a few.
Now Philadelphia has stepped into the foray. With a new $430 million convention center due to be completed by 1991, Philadelphia is aiming to seize its rightful share of the ever-increasing meeting and conventions industry.
NEED MAJOR HOTEL: One of the major keys to competing effectively will be the city's ability to attract a major hotel developer, according to Thomas O. Muldoon, president of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"When we look at our competing cities -- Boston, New York, Washington, Baltimore in particular, each of those major cities has one or more of the five major convention hotel organizations in the city," says Muldoon.
At the same time, one of Philadelphia's limitations from a sales standpoint is that none of the five major convention hotel organizations -- Hyatt, Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott and Weston -- have a convention hotel presence in the city, he adds.
"And we are probably the only major city in the country where that is the case," he says.
In fact, in some cities, the major hotel magnates have a multiple presence. That fact provides host cities with an important marketing advantage, as the sales and marketing staffs of these facilities and their corporate parents' help supplement the convention bureaus and other marketing arms of the host cities.
"The sales and marketing arms, and the presence in the national marketplace -- particularly in New York, Washington, and Chicago -- of the convention hotel companies is immense. Right now, in some of the major markets, the only sales calls that originate from Philadelphia come from our one or two people that are assigned to that marketplace," Muldoon says. "In competing cities, they may have one or two people from a convention bureau, but they also have those two or three guys from the major names in the convention business who are calling as well. And that makes a big difference -- you can get some allies, and you also get some promotional dollars."
COUNT THE LOSSES: In recent years, Philadelphia has experienced a situation that is somewhat the reverse of that, notes Peter R. Tyson, partner, Laventhol & Horwath, Philadelphia.
"You have a combination of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, selling to get groups into the city, plus the combined efforts of all the different hotel sales and marketing people. But every time we lose a hotel in this city, the number of bodies that are out there beating the bushes for new business decreases, and that's a negative."
The major problem is that over the last ten years, a number of the city's older, convention-oriented properties have either gone by the wayside, or have been converted to smaller, carriage-trade type hotels. Therefore, the number of big convention sales staffs around the city has decreased, Tyson explains.
"We've lost the Warwick. That used to be a 600-plus hotel that relied to a great degree on conventions, and the Ben Franklin, which was a 1,200 room hotel," Tyson says. "We lost the Bellevue Stratford twice, and whatever is done at the Bellevue -- if it's a 200 room hotel, they are not going to be looking for the convention business that they looked for with a 500 room hotel, which is even less than they looked for when it was a 700 room hotel."
Currently the only true convention-oriented property in center city is the Franklin Plaza. There are also a number of mid-sized hotels, such as the Hershey and the Holiday Inn at 18th and Market streets that are close to convention-oriented size, but they primarily are concerned with smaller group meetings, Tyson says.
One of the strongest benefits the new convention center is likely to provide is that it will encourage the development of a major (1,000-plus rooms) convention hotel, which will again give the city the ability to readily accommodate large convention groups.
"Right now, if the city needed to house a convention of 1,500 delegates, we would have to use four to six different hotels, and from a meeting planner's standpoint, that's ridiculous. It creates so many headaches. I'm sure that it puts us at a tremendous disadvantage to other, much smaller cities, where they can accommodate those kinds of groups in one, maybe two hotels at the most," says Tyson.
ATLANTA HAPPENING: According to Elizabeth Berry, public relations director for the Georgia World Congress Center, in Atlanta, the growth in major convention hotel space in that city has been dramatic since the center was first opened in 1976.
Berry says four major hotels opened in Atlanta during the center's first year, including the 1,200-room Peachtree Plaza, a 1,000-plus Hilton hotel, and a 1,600-room Marriott hotel. With the addition of two more convention-sized hotels last year, Atlanta now has eight to ten modern, convention hotel properties, Berry adds.
The annual income provided by the resulting business is impressive. According to Berry, the amount of new dollars generated by the Georgia World Congress Center in 1985 amounted to nearly $370 million. Total taxes raised by city and state governments as a result of convention activities amounted to more than $31 million.
LET'S LOOK AT THE FIGURES: The International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus recently released a report which detailed the average amount of money spent by convention attendees across the county, as well as how that money was spent.
According to the report, on the average, each convention accounted for approximately $660.57 per attendee during a convention stay in 1985. On the average, each convention lasted four days in duration.
That figure breaks down as follows. Each attendee at the convention directly spent an average of $419.26 while in his or her host city. At the same time, the convention host -- that is, the business association or professional society, or other group which convened the meeting -- spent an average of $44.90 per attendee during the convention, an average of $183.84 per attendee on exhibits at the convention, and $12.57 per attendee on exposition contractors such as electrical and mechanical services.
In addition, the association worked out the percentages that relate to the amount of money spent directly by each convention attendee. According to the report, 46.8 percent went to hotel rooms, 24.1 percent was spent on food, and another 11 percent went to retail stores in the host city.
IS IT A PROFIT CENTER?: Opponents of convention centers often point out that most major convention facilities in the country operate in the red. According to a recent survey, San Francisco's famed Moscone Center lost approximately $2.5 million, while the D.C. Convention Center showed operating losses of nearly six million dollars. So the fact that few of the country's major facilities ever show a positive bottom line might appear to be a valid point of contention.
But as Thom Connors, an associate with Laventhol & Horwath's Orlando-based Convention and Facility Group notes: "It is a poorly stated point. Convention centers are built for a number of reasons. First, they support an existing hotel industry, an existing entertainment industry, and existing downtown business or commercial district; and second, to create one."
Connors cites the case of Miami's downtown convention center as an example. Although Miami's convention center is a deficit operation, which creates something of a financial burden for the city, it also serves as the anchor project within a downtown development district which contains at least four hotel properties that did not exist five years ago.
"These are major first-class, world-class, convention quality hotels," says Connors. "And there are also a number of office building structures and a lot of retail activity that didn't exist before. There is a whole new look to the physical area that I'm sure has encouraged other development."
Although the new convention center may not be construed accurately as the soul reason for all the area's development, Connors says that the city's confidence in that particular location more than likely resulted directly in several of the new hotels being built.
"And that activity that was created spun off other business activity," Connors adds. "People coming into the meetings and conventions at that facility are spending money at those hotels and in those downtown businesses -- buying food, spending money in retail shops, plus the rent-a-cars, plus the taxis, plus the tips."
NEW INCOME: That money represents income that is brand new to the city, points out Michael Boyle, vice president of the Meetings and Conventions Division of Philadelphia's Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"What the convention delegates essentially are doing is renting our city for a few days," says Boyle. "The money those people bring in are dollars that are earned elsewhere and would not have been spent in this city if it were not for the fact that a convention was held in Philadelphia."
That new income often means new jobs for a city, in addition to the obvious increase in sales revenues. As Laventhol & Horwath's Connors notes, these new jobs can involve any number of possibilities -- there are meeting room decorators, laborers who set up exhibits, additional staff at the food service companies who serve the various convention groups, security people, transport
workers, communications staff, additional hotel staff, and so on.
"Those are all business opportunities and sales that didn't exist before," says Connors. "Those are jobs that didn't exist. That is why I think you have to look at that kind of spin-off and economic impact within a community to really evaluate whether a convention center is a deficit operation burdening the city government. In all the cases I've seen it is certainly not. A convention center is a proven stimulus to downtown development. Either redevelopment or ongoing urban development."
PRIVATE MANAGEMENT: That is not to say, of course, that how a convention center is managed and operated is a moot point. According to Matthew Brown, general manager of Philadelphia's Civic Center as a member of Spectacor management services, there is a growing trend among city, county and state governments to hire private management consultants to run their convention facilities most effectively. For example, Spectacor manages the following facilities in addition to the civic center: the Philadelphia Spectrum, the Albany County Civic Center,
the Kellogg Center Arena in Battle Creek, MI, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, the Coliseum in Richmond, VA, and the Centrum in Worcester, MA.
"The Spectrum is regarded as one of the busiest and most successful buildings of its size in the country," notes Brown. "What we have found is that there are communities out there who are desperate for the same guidance and direction, and skill and expertise that has been so successful at the Spectrum."
Brown notes that managing facilities designed for entertainment is little different from managing stadiums, arenas and convention centers. One fan of private management is L&H's Pete Tyson, who has seen a "remarkable" rise in the level of expertise, professionalism, and attitude in the Civic
"You now have people out there who feel they have a fiduciary responsibility to book the place and to run events. Whereas under the old regime, which was a public regime, there was no incentive. You're a government employee and you go home at the end of the day and that's that," says Tyson. "The Spectacor people seem to have the right attitude. They want to get the business, and they
recognize some of the faults of the facility itself and the service that has been offered, and they want to take steps to correct it."
The key difference, says Conners, is that private management companies typically have been able to attract the top managers in the field. And by using highly trained professional managers who implement programs that are proven effective, these private companies usually can cut losses, decrease a facility's operating deficits, or even produce significant amounts of new revenues to overcome a deficit operation. Of course, private management is by no means a cure-all for every facilities ills.
LIMITATIONS: As Spectacor's Brown notes, Philadelphia's existing Civic Center is simply insufficient for many of the large conventions and trade shows that are now going to other cities.
"We can only advertise and sell the capabilities of our facility, which although it has 400,000 square feet of space, it is not all prime square footage. The Civic Center includes five different buildings which fortunately, are connected, so it can provide continuous space," says Brown.
But at the same time, two of the buildings date back to the 1890s, and include limited square footage, narrow widths, and columns that block out important exhibit space. This, together with the relative lack of high quality hotel facilities in that area, hardly enhances the facility's competitive edge in relation to newer facilities that are springing up all over the country.
POSITIVE SIDE: But there is a positive side here, too. The newest section of the Civic Center, Pennsylvania Hall, was constructed fairly recently -- in 1978. Brown describes Pennsylvania Hall as "an excellent facility" that is probably the "biggest secret in the local business community." The facility features 11 meeting rooms, ranging in capacity from 60 to 800 persons; 43,000 square feet of exhibit space, and a 4,500-seat auditorium which can accommodate a banquet for 2,500 people -- putting it on a level with the Franklin Plaza as the largest facility in the city, Brown says.
In addition, Pennsylvania Hall enjoys a separate dining room and bar, a full kitchen, and a beautifully terraced entrance with fountains and sculptures. According to Brown, Sun Co. and Bell of Pennsylvania utilize the facility regularly for periodic stockholder and sales meetings.
Nevertheless, large-scale conventions, including the Republican National Convention -- which Philadelphia has been rumored to be courting for 1988, would probably be beyond the capacity of the complex, Brown says.
LACK OF HOTELS: Once again, the major reason is hotel rooms.
"You occasionally hear someone talking about hosting a major convention or the Olympics, but when you find you have to put people in Downingtown to have them properly housed, then I think you're in for a bad time with the press. You're going to leave a bad taste in somebody's mouth," observes Tyson. "The key is not to overshoot your abilities. Keep it within the realm of reason, because all you need is to have the press harp on the fact that it took an hour and a half to get into the site by bus, and Philadelphia is going to come out with a black eye no matter how well the thing is handled."
Tyson sees the Civic Center's future as being in "gate shows," such as flower shows, boat shows, hobby shows, car shows, and sportsmen shows. This use would complement the new civic center, which would accommodate the major convention and group meeting exhibits, Tyson notes.
"Certainly there will be some competition between the two, but realistically speaking, the more facilities you can offer within reason in a given geographic area, the stronger your competitive position should be," Tyson says. "You could have two groups in town at the same time, and if they have different needs, and if you have the hotel room base to support them, it will be a terrific advantage to the city."
In addition, at about the same time the new convention center opens, a new rail station will open at the Civic Center, thus enabling easy access between the two facilities.
"It wouldn't be inconceivable for a group to use Convention Hall for a general session for 11,000 people, and bring them back to the new convention center via an underground shuttle," says the Convention Bureau's Muldoon. "Or you can accommodate two different groups. You are selling both facilities, and if you have three down days in setting up the convention center and three to tear it down, you can make it financially feasible for somebody to go into the civic center while you are tearing down this place for the next show."
INGREDIENTS ARE THERE: And with the airport high speed line, the lack of hotel rooms near the Civic Center is minimized.
"All you do is get on a train and then you're down there. They pay a little less for their rooms, and a little less to rent the older facility -- that way you are able to sell two packages, not just one," explains Muldoon. "That's 'A' league, and that's got to be part of our short-range planning."
"But facilities are what you start with," Muldoon adds. "We have some tremendous strengths. Any convention that comes to this city does excellent attendance. Approximately a third of the nation's population is within a four or five hour trip of Philadelphia, as well as probably 50 percent of the wealth that is in this country. We're also sitting in the middle of the best marketing place in the world, between New York and Washington.
"So from a convention standpoint, if we have the right pieces and we sell them
right, we will be very, very successful."
By Thomas Derr
Philadelphia, PA, US -- WHEN most people think of the Philadelphia Mummers, they think of the color, the music, the pageantry, and the contagious atmosphere of fun and excitement that seems to surround their parades. One person, though, is taking the whole spectacle much more seriously.
Art Wilkinson, president of Art Wilkinson and Associates, a Philadelphia firm which normally specializes in business and personal management service to professional athletes, broadcast media personalities and coaches, recently negotiated a five-year contract with KYW-TV on behalf of 49 of the 55 clubs who march in the Mummers New Years' Day Parade.
Wilkinson first came to national attention when one of his clients, Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier, a Camden, N.J., native, made news by making more money in a shorter period of time than any other player in football history.
Wilkinson began his career as a labor and contract lawyer for the federal government. While in Washington, he received a Master's degree in labor law from George Washington University's National Law Center, and shortly thereafter left the government to pursue a career as a sports lawyer.
Today, as president of AWA, Wilkinson has handled more than 50 well-known sports personalities, including: Tom Osborne, head football coach at the University of Nebraska; Andy Talley, head football coach at Villanova; Terry Kinard, former first-round draft choice of the New York Giants; Joe Klecko, All-Pro defensive lineman for the New York Jets; former Masters golf champion Craig Stadler; NHL power play record holder Tim Kerr of the Philadelphia Flyers; and four-time Cy Young award winner Steve Carlton. The firm also handles such media personalities as Merrill Reese, sports director at WIP radio; and Judi Barton, arts and entertainment reporter for KYW-TV.
MILLION DOLLAR PARADE: Now, thanks in large part to Wilkinson's experience in dealing with some of those multi-million dollar contracts, Philadelphia will soon be enjoying a million dollar parade.
Although Wilkinson will not discuss specific details of the contract, he did say that the Mummers are much closer than ever before to the kind of numbers commanded by other major national parades, such as the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA, which is worth approximately $6 million.
This is particularly significant in view of the fact that only six years ago, Channel 6 paid a total of $15,000 for the rights to the television broadcast of the Mummers Parade, and subsequent reruns, Wilkinson notes.
"And when Channel 10 picked up the parade, they never paid more than $220,000 for the entire parade. We thought that the string bands themselves were worth that much money," he notes.
According to Wilkinson, the advertising revenues and the ratings that are enjoyed by the stations which have broadcast the Mummers more than justified his belief that the Mummers could command larger rights fees. "I think it has been exploited in years past," he adds.
FORMER MUMMER: Wilkinson has personal experience to draw from in making that observation, having been a Mummer himself for ten years. At the age of 11, Wilkinson began playing the alto sax for the Duffy String Band, and later played with both the Greater Kensington String Band and the Greater Overbrook String Band.
"I knew the spirit of the Mummers, and you can't put a price on that. So I just tried to get them to best deal I could," says Wilkinson.
He adds that being a Mummer was a year-round job involving countless rehearsals, practices, costume fittings and benefit appearances. But it all comes together on New Year's Day, when the Mummers get up at two in the morning to walk eight miles in freezing weather for a mere four minutes in front of the judges' stand -- and then it's right back to the drawing board again.
However, Wilkinson's business affiliations with the Mummers came several years later, when Joe Deighan, president of the Philadelphia String Band Association, asked him to provide professional help on a recording contract. His involvement gradually became greater until taking on the TV rights negotiations seemed to be a natural carryover, Wilkinson adds.
During the negotiations, several local TV stations showed interest in broadcasting the 12-hour parade, he notes, including Channels 29, 57, and, of course, 10, which had the TV rights since 1980. In the end, however, KYW, Philadelphia's NBC affiliate, came up with the best offer, which included a promise that its Group W sister stations in San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh and Baltimore would run at least part of the parade.
One of Wilkinson's long-term objectives is to persuade at least a few of these stations to pick up
the entire parade.
HOME-GROWN: KYW's victory in the wrestling match for the Mummers Parade has been an objective of general manager Jim Thompson since he assumed the position at the station in 1985. And, like Wilkinson, his feelings are home-grown as well. Thompson claims to have missed only one parade in the last 30 years -- and he only missed that one because he was serving a tour of duty in Vietnam, he says.
"The Mummers Parade is pure Philadelphia, with everyone working together for a common goal. Not only are we delighted to be able to bring that spirit into Delaware Valley homes, but we are proud to be able to show that neighborhood spirit to people across the country," Thompson says.
Those sentiments were echoed by Joe Deighan, president of the Philadelphia String Band Association.
"In the past we were all underpaid and often did our best just to make do. But now we can have finer costumes, professional choreography and better make-up. This can't help but make for a better parade," says Deighan. "And with the national exposure we hope to get even more engagements during the year -- and that's important, too. It's often hard for most Philadelphians to realize, but people only 100 miles away usually don't know what the Mummers are all about."
EXPOSURE TO MARKETS: And along with the greater national exposure will come greater national marketability, Wilkinson hopes.
"Right now we are forming a new company called String Band Properties, which essentially will be a marketing arm for the string bands," says Wilkinson. "It will market records, books, video tapes, posters, T-shirts, and other items. That's something that has never really been done before; in fact, I don't think it's ever been thought of before."
Based on some preliminary studies on information regarding prior record and program sales, attendance at the String Bank Show of Shows, and other areas of interest, Wilkinson believes there is quite a substantial amount of interest out there.
"And I think that the bands will probably reap some pretty hefty benefits from somebody finally putting this package together for them," he observes. In addition, the Mummers should also be able to look forward to more national TV commercials, and engagements all over the country at state fairs, conventions, malls and cultural exchange programs as a result of the wider national exposure.
COMMERCIAL FLOATS: This exposure will provide additional direct benefits for the Mummers because the new TV contract allows them to retain the syndication rights to the parade in areas of the country not covered by Group W (by broadcasting directly off the KYW feed). Furthermore, each division can also have a commercial float leading it.
According to Wilson, national beer companies, soft drink firms, airlines and fast food companies will probably be among the many advertisers who will want to take advantage of such an opportunity.
"Throughout the years of the TV contract we think the parade will become a national event," notes Wilkinson. "Already, we've had calls from some out-of-town sources looking to bring string bands in for specific events. And I think the more that we can have them appear in different parts of the country, the more marketable the entire concept will be."
Based on this exposure, Wilkinson says, major endorsements and sponsorships -- as well as additional appearances -- will become a real possibility for the Mummers.
"I really feel that this TV contract has probably been the biggest single impact item on the history of the parade," he claims. "The bands and the fancy brigades and the other groups have been spending a substantial amount of dollars on their costumes every year. But right now, with the new money that will come in with the TV contract, and from some other sources that we have lined up, if some of the Mummers want to, they may be in a position where they can spend two to three times the money than before. And at that point, of course, we'll have ourselves a better parade, which ultimately becomes a more marketable product."
BENEFITS TO CITY: But the ultimate benefits of an enhanced Mummers Parade go far beyond the parade itself. In the long run, claims Wilkinson, the entire city could be better off.
"We hope we can bring more people in for the summer Mummers parade, and we certainly hope that we can appear in other cities to make those people want to come here and see what else we have to offer," says Wilkinson.