City of Perth cancels $1.3m ad spend, backs new ‘city of lights’ plan
The City of Perth has cancelled its $1.3 million advertising spend for the first half of next year because of concerns the organisation is not getting value for its money nor attracting visitors through its marketing.
Council canned several future advertising campaigns at its meeting on Tuesday while reallocating $280,000 out of its budget to install seven light projects around the capital to try and revitalise Perth’s reputation as the “city of lights”.
Councillor Brent Fleeton moved the motion to tighten the purse strings on uncommitted funds and campaigns, which include Always On and winter events which are worth a combined $1.3 million.
“We just need to take a break. Once we get past Australia Day we need to pause, we need to reassess every dollar being spent in these areas,” he said.
“I just think after that campaign draft we saw in our first few weeks, it did scare me about what is going on internally and what the city thinks needs to be projected to the world.
“Let’s spend time and money getting our experience right in the capital city.”
Mr Fleeton said the local government should measure its success by the resulting footfall in the city.
Councillor Di Bain told the meeting she thought the local government could “lean” more into state agencies such as Tourism WA – which she is a board member of – to use some of their marketing and dollars to help the organisation.
“We should rein it in and really have a look at ourselves and our product that we are selling,” she said.
“Understand specifically what we are trying to achieve by our marketing.”
The council also held off on awarding a $4,500,000 contract for media booking and planning until next month.
Current contracts for the service, which is used to book advertising rather than create the materials for a campaign, expire at the end of January.
Deputy Lord Mayor Sandy Anghie managed to convince her fellow councillors to back her “Light it Up” initiative to place seven $40,000 permanent lighting installations around the city, with a preference for one each in Northbridge, retail core, West End, West Perth, Hampden Road, East Perth and Claisebrook.
Mrs Anghie said many residents and visitors felt areas of the city were unsafe after dark.
“Reasons for this include the emptying of the city after work hours, along with a lack of well-lit spaces, which create nooks for antisocial behaviour – particularly laneways,” she said.
“Through this ‘Light It Up’ program, by focusing on problematic laneways and creating artistic lighting elements we will not only help our city residents and visitors feel safer, but also create a sense of delight in these informal spaces.
“Resulting in places that draw people to our city streets at night, creating places where the community can meet and interact and helping to create a more interesting and walkable city for everyone.”
Mrs Anghie also got up a motion for the local government to develop an $80,000 app to encourage children and families to explore Perth.
Councillor Rebecca Gordon raised concerns about the council starting an app when it had just passed a motion to stop advertising until the organisation had a grasp on what promotional activities it should be undertaking.