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Take Me Out To The Billboard

July 18, 2003
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There are many ways that HVACR contractors choose to market their name to John Q. Public. I was at a baseball game earlier this spring in Harrisburg, Pa. The home team, the Harrisburg Senators, plays its games at quaint RiverSide Stadium on City Island. If you know anything about minor league baseball stadiums, a common sight is the proliferation of billboard advertising around the outfield walls and behind the stands.

I witnessed the same sights years ago in Greensboro, N.C., while watching the Greensboro Bats play at War Memorial Stadium. Among the many advertising signs for local businesses at both stadiums were ads for heating and cooling contractors.

Leggett Inc.

Leggett Inc., a Harrisburg-area contractor, uses a large sign over the seats along the first base line to get its name out to fans attending the Senators’ games. Not only can the sign be seen from all areas of the stadium, but it is often the background for media photos of players during game action.

Owner Ernie Leggett admits that he isn’t sure how many calls he gets from the ad, but he is sure that having his name there is good for business. “My agency wanted me to try it last year when I presented them with a $10,000 budget of unallocated money,” said Leggett. “We got a job right away from the assistant GM of the Senators.

“We have not seen any other hard hits. But I do know that you need to have some sort of top of the mind advertising, and we are getting it from this venue.”

Kay Heating And A/C

Vickie Maness of Greensboro-area contractor Kay Heating and Air Conditioning associates the need for the national pastime to the need for heating and cooling.

“We want to be all-American, like ‘Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Kay Heating and Air Conditioning,’” she said, playing off of the old Chevrolet ad campaign.

Maness said her ad campaign has been a huge success. “We have been a sponsor for the Bats for about five years now. It has been a great advertising tool for us.

“The ball games are great entertainment for the entire family, and I would have to say that most people who live in the Greensboro area have been to a ballgame at some time. There’s nothing better than watching a ball going to the outfield and seeing our name — Kay Heating and Air Conditioning! I have had customers tell us they saw our billboard and decided to call us, so I guess it has certainly paid off.”

Maness added that her company gives a little extra to their baseball fan customers, too. “We also receive four box seats for each game, also a great way to advertise. We give the tickets to customers; then they take the family and enjoy a ballgame on us.”

If I could give any advice to contractors who choose this venue of stadium billboard advertising, I recommend measuring its effectiveness. I am sure that thousands of fans see the ads during each home game. But how many actually call because of the signage?

Leggett said he couldn’t be sure of how many jobs he had picked up as a direct result of the sign, but he was contemplating having his receptionist and customer service reps ask, “How did you hear about us?” as they handle customer inquiries.

If any News readers have a unique way of advertising, please drop me a line and I’ll share some of your ideas with our readers.

John Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 248-244-1294, 248-362-0317 (fax), or johnhall@achrnews.com.

Publication date: 07/21/2003

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