State buys $30K newspaper ad to boost aviation industry

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R.L. Nave, Mississippi Today

Mississippi economic development officials recently took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal to promote the state’s aviation industry.

Mississippi is putting the state’s aerospace manufacturing industry on national display ahead of a major global aviation business event.

Tucked between a story about North Korea releasing an American hostage and physicians fleeing Venezuela amid civil instability is a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal’s June 14 national edition that highlights several industry titans doing business in Mississippi.

The words “TAKING FLIGHT. GOING HIGHER. MISSISSIPPI” appear at the top of the ad, which features a U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, the fuselages for which are made in Moss Point. The rest of the plane is assembled in Palmdale, Calif.

Below the photo of the aircraft, written in smaller print, is the statement “Chances are, every commercial airplane you have flown on has had at least one component manufactured in Mississippi.” At the bottom off the ad is a graphic that reads “MissISsippi Aerospace,” or “Mississippi IS Aerospace.”

A full page, four-color ad in the Wall Street Journal typically costs $354,823.27, according to the paper’s ad rate sheet. An official with the Mississippi Development Authority, the state’s economic development agency, said after a last-minute pullout from another advertiser, the Journal offered that slot to Mississippi for $30,000 – a 91.5 percent discount.

MDA thinks the ad buy was a good deal that hopefully will pay dividends in advance of next week’s Paris Air Show, which draws thousands of aerospace manufacturers from more than 100 countries. The Journal has an average weekday circulation of 1.2 million and is sold in 16 countries, the paper’s media kit states.

“In advance of the world’s largest aerospace show attended by major aerospace companies and Tier One suppliers, MDA is raising the awareness of the state’s opportunities for growth in this sector,” said Jeff Rent, an MDA spokesman. “The Wall Street Journal reaches corporate decision makers who play a key role in business expansion and investment decisions. Print advertising is an integral part of Mississippi’s marketing portfolio.”

The agency’s chief marketing officer, Pamela Weaver, conceptualized the idea. The ad is the second the state has purchased in the Wall Street Journal in the past two years, Rent said.

Aerospace product and parts manufacturing accounts for 2,400 jobs in Mississippi, according to the MDA website. The ad lists international companies that have an in-state presence, including GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, Stark Aerospace and Airbus Helicopters. The ad also boasted about the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Center of Excellence at Mississippi State University.

“Unmanned aerospace systems is a growing sector of Mississippi’s business and industry,” Rent said. “Mississippi regions such as the Gulf Coast, Meridian and the Golden Triangle have seen significant investments by aerospace companies in their communities.”

As for the heavily discounted advertisement rate, Rent said the ad came out of the agency’s $400,000 annual advertising budget.

“While ad placements of this size and scope are infrequent, MDA looks for high-value high impact advertising opportunities such as the Wall Street Journal to market Mississippi’s business advantages to corporate executives across the globe,” Rent said. “If not for the judicious use of our resources, we may not have been in a position to take advantage of this opportunity.”

  • Charlie Smith

    The old “someone pulled out at the last minute” discount. WSJ got to stand by that rate card. Shoot yourself in the foot cutting deals like that.

  • Otis

    Shouldn’t private business pay for its own advertising?