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Members of the El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission heard reports Tuesday about several events for which the commission provided funding to help promote this year.

Commissioners heard updates on the grand opening of the Murphy Arts District, Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, SouthArk Outdoor Expo and the Murphy USA Classic.

Follow-up reports are required for groups and individuals who receive funding from the A&P Commission.

Bob Tarren, chief marketing officer for MAD, told commissioners that between June and the end of October, MAD clocked more than 5 billion impressions, which were tracked through unique monthly views and unique monthly circulation, including print and digital media.

MAD employed a mix of traditional and online media, with national and regional coverage with the New York Times, Southern Living magazine, Country Living magazine, Billboard Magazine, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Houston Chronicle Woman’s and ABC online.

Tarren said MAD is still analyzing data from the grand opening and figuring out the next chapter of the new arts and entertainment district, now that the initial story of construction and the grand opening has been completed.

He said people from 30 states purchased tickets to shows during the grand opening of MAD on Sept. 27 — Oct. 1.

According to audience data, 75 percent of ticket purchases for the grand opening came from Arkansas, and about 28 percent was outside “greater El Dorado,” Tarren said.

“I’m going to put a big caveat on that because we’re still doing the analyzing. The number could be a little bit higher when it comes to overall activity, but what counts at the end of the day is people are arriving here in their car and actually buying something and spending some time and having a good story to take home,” Tarren said.

Since June, MAD has spent just over $520,000 in advertising, he said.

A&P Commissioner Judy Ward, also a city alderwoman, asked if the geographic ticket density, as outlined in a map provided by Tarren, was what MAD anticipated for the grand opening.

Four percent of ticket sales came from north Louisiana and 2 percent came from Texas.

Locations weren’t identified for 16 percent, and Tarren said he did not include numbers for any of the other states because the ticket sales were scattered.

In response to Ward’s question, Tarren said he was surprised by the lack of response to advertising in Mississippi.

“I spent about the same amount of money in Mississippi as I did in Shreveport (Louisiana), and there must be an invisible wall there that nobody told me about because I cannot seem to get people to come west,” Tarren said.

With overall advertising, he said about 30 percent of MAD’s response activity is coming from out of state.

Murphy USA EL Dorado Shootout

Andrea Burdue discussed the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, a stop on the Symetra Tour, which is a qualifier for the LPGA.

The women’s golf tournament was held Sept. 15 – 17 at the Mystic Creek Golf Club. Australian golfer Hanna Green took home the trophy for the event.

Burdue reported that 132 players participated in this year’s tournament — an increase from 120 players in 2016.

“They apply for tournaments and select the ones they want to go to, so it’s a good sign that they enjoy our tournament enough that they’re talking about it, and our participation is increasing,” Burdue said.

Eighty-four players were hosted in 54 local homes during the three-day event, Burdue told commissioners, adding that the host families who participated spoke to the hospitality of the community.

“That’s significant for our small town because I can say the tournament directly after us did not have a single home that was opened up to any of the players,” she said.

The third annual Shootout also drew its largest crowd with approximately 2,500 spectators, Burdue said.

With the $20,000 in funded provided by the A&P commission Burdeu said organizers were able negotiate with advertisers and parlay the amount into $30,000 worth of advertising.

National media coverage came from USA Today, ABC News, The Boston Globe, New York Times and the Golf Channel, she said.

Outdoor Expo

Cynthia Reyna, director of the SouthArk Foundation and External Funding, made similar statements while discussing the SouthArk Outdoor Expo, which was held on Sept. 9.

Reyna said the $3,000 in A&P funding was used to purchase advertising through a mix of social and traditional media. The total value of the ads, particularly print and radio media, was $25,000, she said.

Just over half of the amount was used for Facebook advertising, which resulted in a reach of more than 91,000 (“Those who actually saw it,” Reyna explained.), and 10,000 interactions, which are composed of clicks, likes and shares.

Reyna said the expo drew a crowd of about 5,000.

“In beginning, y’all asked for a larger amount, and each year, you reduce it, and that’s what we want to see is for you to become self-sufficient, and I think y’all are a glowing example of that, and we appreciate it,” said Dianne Hammond, a city alderwoman and chair of the A&P commission.

Murphy USA Classic

John Thomas Shepherd reported that an estimated 5,000 people attended the Murphy USA Classic last Saturday in Memorial Stadium.

“That stadium was almost at capacity,” Mayor Frank Hash said.

Ouachita Baptist University took the win over Southern Arkansas University.

In what was described as a “thriller,” former El Dorado High School quarterback Lucas Reed threw with game-winning touchdown pass to clinch the win at 45 - 42.

Shepherd said the annual event allows local youth “to see what a college game atmosphere is like” and opens their eyes to opportunities that are afforded to them through college.

For instance, Shepherd said he learned that several EHS band students were offered band scholarships for SAU and OBU.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or

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