Open Letters to OCBA and TDA

Two letters sent to OCBA and TDA about post-Dorian advertising:

This was sent to the Ocracoke Township Tourism Development Authority (TDA) (Amy Howard, Daphne Bennink, Greg Honeycutt, Martha Garrish, Lisa Landrum)  and the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association (OCBA) (Helena Stevens, Rudy Austin, Justin LeBlanc, Martha Garrish, John Giagu, Bob Chestnut, Sharon Brodisch, Chad Macek, Margaret Trainer, Jenny Scarborough) on September 25: 

This is a most difficult time for all of us right now, but one of the many things that keeps me awake at night is that with all of the money that is flowing into Ocracoke from all levels of government, from individuals and organizations, at the same time THE ONLY PUBLIC FUNDS THIS COMMUNITY HAS THE DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY TO SPEND are flowing out to Element Advertising of Asheville. We need to tell our own story...…..this money could go to each non-profit on the island to spend for promoting their activities in 2020.  

Please consider how this money is being spent during this massive destruction and devastation and the requests for donations being made by Ocracoke businesses.

Dorian created a huge amount of free publicity for the island. Until we solve our workforce housing issue, is it wise or responsible to be pouring over $100,000 a year into an online marketing campaign?

Most sincerely,

Linda Scarborough

After I found out from Helena that the contract with Element can be terminated by either party with 60 days notice  and that the total amount is $110,000 with November and December being "paused" according to the original contract, I sent this to the TDA and OCBA board members on November 10th:

Dear decision makers,

Please consider that Element's generic and expensive advertising is not the only way to announce that Ocracoke is re-opened to visitors.

Press releases are free and there will be many – NPS, NCDOT ferries, Hyde County, etc.  OCBA could send press releases to the News & Observer, WITN, other local TV stations, Virginian Pilot, etc. that would serve us well and cost us nothing.  Ocracoke businesses and individuals on Face Book will certainly be making announcements

If the $11,000 per month (they were doing no media buying in November and December originally) contract with Element were terminated, it could not be taken personally after the devastation on the island. The savings could be used for the map, including all businesses who want to be included at no cost to them. Ocracoke Alive, OPS, the Decoy Carvers Guild, and other non-profits might receive funds to help them advertise their winter and spring events.  

The tens of thousand or more of people who have donated to the OBCF Ocracoke fund, #ocracokestrong, the churches, etc. could be thanked and welcomed to visit. This kind of advertising targets those who know and care for this place already. OCBA has an Executive Director who could do all of this well.

I have to re-state that the TDA controls the only funds that Ocracoke Township has to spend with no county oversight whatsoever. This money (about $11,000 a month!) is being spent off island, without soliciting public input, when it could be used to tell our own story.

Most sincerely, 

Linda Scarborough

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