S. Georgia Parks Drive Falls Short State Auditors Question Effectiveness of Ads

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Despite a nearly $1 million advertising campaign

over the past two years designed to lure people into South

Georgia state parks, visitors fail to flock, prompting state

auditors to question whether the government spending has worked.

The state has more than quadrupled its spending to $675,000

this year to promote the 28 parks south of Augusta and Atlanta

-- but with no measurable improvement.

A recent audit said the state Department of Natural Resources

needs to evaluate its results before continuing to spend the

money on marketing.

"The Department of Natural Resources' marketing staff did not

thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of the spring advertising

campaigns in increasing visitation," the audit said. "Such

evaluation should be conducted as a means of designing more

effective future campaigns."

But the program hasn't had time to work yet, said DNR

Commissioner Lonice Barrett.

"We are only finishing our second year of the marketing

program. I was disappointed that an audit so soon into this

process was undertaken," Barrett said.

State Sen. Ed Boshears, D-St. Simons, an ardent critic of the

department, said the failed marketing campaigns are an example

of wasteful spending.

"That's just a classic example of waste and bureaucratic

finagling," Boshears said. …