12/23/2006: "Let Us Define "Advertising""
Letter to the Editor,
With a catchy title like "What Do SJC & Ho Chi Minh City Have in Common," we are sure your publication of the Orbitz press release was well-read today. Thank you for printing excerpts from their "Seven Hotspots for 2007" announcement in which the San Juan Islands are noted for kayaking and beautiful landscapes. This is a big coup for a destination marketing organization, however we here at the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau are ever-mindful of the delicate balance between the local economy, our fragile ecosystem and our residential communities. Our mission and goals guide us to instill an environmental stewardship ethic in our visitors, promoting responsible, low-impact visitation to our islands. To that end, we use over forty percent of our budget on visitor education, visitor services, media relations, and public relations, etc.
Being included on the Orbitz list has very little, if anything, to do with "aggressive advertising" as you stated. Admittedly, the definition of "advertising" can be misunderstood. Our advertising budget (ads which are purchased) is twenty percent of our overall budget. Orbitz has recognized the results of our media relations efforts in the areas of editorial content in magazines, newspapers, etc. and also our focused promotion of the Islands to niche markets which represent our desired visitors, such as kayakers, birders, hikers, families, etc.
Public Relations Manager
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
(The Island Guardian regrets if any reader has been confused by the definition of "advertising" as it is used by the SJI Visitors Bureau, which, Jacobson instructs is different than "marketing" or "public relations", a category identified in their 2005 annual report as 74% of the budget -and within which we presume the "advertising" budget of 20% might be found. Just for the record, the remaining two budget categories in the annual report are visitor services (17%), and administration/operations (9%).
While we are sympathetic to Jacobson's concern, we prefer to use the old standard "Webster" explanation of "advertising" that includes "telling people about or praising" and to "ask for publicly" as part pf the definition of "advertising"; both of which sound a bit like "marketing and public relations" to us. -Ed)