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Airport won't renew Powell Realty ad

Board finance panel recommends accepting manager's call

Posted: October 15, 2012 - 5:16pm  |  Updated: October 16, 2012 - 12:02am
The Finance Committee for Juneau International Airport's board of directors addressed Powell Realty's banner stand advertisement on the second floor of the airport, and whether the contract keeping it there should be renewed.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
The Finance Committee for Juneau International Airport's board of directors addressed Powell Realty's banner stand advertisement on the second floor of the airport, and whether the contract keeping it there should be renewed.

A prominent advertisement that greets travelers at Juneau International Airport with the smiling face of Powell Realty, Inc., broker Honey Bee Anderson will not remain at its current location past the end of October.

After hearing from Dale Anderson, Honey Bee’s husband, at its regular meeting last Wednesday, the airport’s board of directors directed its Finance Committee to convene Monday for discussion on the matter.

Honey Bee Anderson, who attended the committee meeting in the airport’s Juneau Room Monday, said the ad’s prominent location at the top of the down escalator and across from the security check area on the second floor has been a boon to her business.

“Advertising is about top-of-the-mind awareness, and being at the top of the escalator definitely puts me in that top-of-the-mind awareness,” Anderson told the committee. “You see it as you arrive, you see it as you depart and you see it as you wait. And if you drive by, you can often see it through the window.”

Powell Realty has a two-year contract with the airport to display the ad. That contract is set to expire at the end of the month.

Airport Manager Jeannie Johnson, a former colleague of Anderson in the real estate business, said she has received numerous complaints about the ad’s placement.

“The window was a view to the glacier, and the banner stand was in front of the view,” Johnson said, describing some of the “pushback” she has heard against the ad.

The ad is what is known as a banner stand, a large standalone graphic display that both Anderson and Johnson said takes up more space than they were originally expecting it to.

Johnson said banner stand advertising was introduced to the airport after the Younger Agency was brought on in 2010 to provide advertising services.

Indicating a colored map of both floors of the airport drawn up as an advertising plan, Johnson explained, “There are some bright pink dots, and those bright pink dots … denote the location of banner stands. So as far as we were concerned, a banner stand is a bright pink dot. We didn’t really know the scope of how big it was.”

Anderson said she made a strategic decision in determining that the location at the top of the down escalator would be the best place for her ad, for which she has been paying $285 per month. The airport receives some 32 percent of that monthly revenue.

“I chose it specifically for position, but I felt like I was taking a risk,” said Anderson. “That risk paid off for me over the last two years.”

In her judgment, no other place in the airport would be as effective as the current spot for the ad, Anderson added.

While Johnson said she explored the possibility last year of buying out the contract on the two-year ad in order to remove it right away, she ultimately decided last December to allow the contract to expire as scheduled. She informed Anderson of her decision on Dec. 29, 2011, she said, in essence giving her 10 months’ notice that the contract would not be renewed.

Board members expressed their desire to stay away from “micromanaging,” in Jerry Godkin’s words, after hearing Johnson’s summary.

“I would like to think that our staff can manage the airport and the minutiae,” said Godkin, who is chairman of the board. “The board doesn’t want to get involved in the day-to-day politics of managing an airport.”

Godkin suggested that the Andersons’ request for “reconsideration,” as Honey Bee Anderson put it, should be treated as an appeal rather than as the board attempting to get involved with managing airport staff’s actions.

Ron Swanson agreed with Godkin.

“I don’t think this is our decision,” Swanson said. “We can’t be meeting and approving every advertising thing that goes up.”

The committee unanimously approved a motion by Steve Zimmerman recommending that the board, all members of which were present at the committee meeting, “accept the manager’s decision” on the matter.

After the meeting, Anderson said, “I’m disappointed, because I’d love to remain in that position. I think it does what advertising is supposed to do.”

Both Anderson and Johnson said they would like to work out a way for Powell Realty to continue advertising at the airport, if possible.

“I’m hoping that maybe we can work with Honey Bee, or Elizabeth Younger can work with Honey Bee, and find a location that will work with her,” said Johnson. “I’m sure there isn’t anything as perfect, in her mind, as that location is right now. But we’d certainly love to have her presence here in the airport.”

Godkin thanked Joe Heueisen, the newly appointed chairman of the Finance Committee (http://bit.ly/R7A6Fk), after the meeting’s adjournment.

“Most importantly, we want the public to know that when they come to the board and have public testimony that we take, we just don’t want to shuffle it under the rug,” Godkin told attendees. “I think (the reason) we’re mainly here today is that it didn’t fall on deaf ears, and it at least got a hearing.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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