S. Georgia Parks Drive Falls Short State Auditors Question Effectiveness of Ads
Viele, Lawrence, The Florida Times Union
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. …