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Provincial election falls short of generating expected business.

Provincial election falls short of generating expected business

The provincial election had surprisingly few benefits for some businesses which would normally expect a windfall.

Party Novelties in Sudbury filled only one order for buttons for the campaign of Liberal candidate J.Y. Robert in Sudbury East.

Norma Bradley, manager of Party Novelties, said the election had not helped the business.

"I think it's the time of year," she said, adding that few people appeared to be interested in the campaign.

During previous elections, the firm had more business for balloons and pens, along with buttons.

Typo-Press Printers of Timmins received some business from candidates, mostly for posters and pamphlets.

"Not as much as we usually have," said Denis Morin, production manager at Typo-Press.

That was because, as of mid-August, only two candidates were contesting the riding, a New Democrat and a Liberal. A Progressive Conservative candidate had yet to be named.

"We usually welcome an election," he said. "Normally an election is good for us, but this year it is not a factor in any way."

One television executive said the medium does not make money on election advertising.

Tony Seuret, vice-presiden and general manager of Thunder Bay Television (CKPR-TV and CHFD-TV), said he can't remember ever turning a profit on election advertising in his 13 years in the business.

"By and large, it represents very little income to the station," he said.

Riding associations do not have large advertising budgets to spend, and one particular medium doesn't get a huge windfall, he added.

"I would argue that TV stations lose money on elections," he added.

Seuret explained that TV stations must bump long-term, national advertisers to make way for election commercials, creating a disruption in the normal flow of advertising revenue.

"What's really most important is regular advertisers who, on an on-going basis, are supporting the station," he said.

Election advertising poses a number of other problems.

There is little lead time to prepare the commercials, Seuret note, adding that regular advertising is usually prepared six months in advance.

"There is very little time to assist our clients (candidates) in preparing the best possible campaign," he added.

Election commercials mean a lot of last-minute juggling, he said. "It's kind of flying by the seat of your pants."

Seuret noted that, by and large, election advertising doesn't fit into good business planning because of its unpredictable timing.

There are also stringent regulations on election advertising which prevent flexibility in TV advertising.

Seuret stressed that he is not complaining about the situation, since broadcasters have an important contribution to make to the election process, and do so with sincerity and care.

Roger Aubut, the campaign manager for New Democrat Shelley Martel in Sudbury East, provides some idea of the costs of an election campaign, aside from the obvious printing of posters and pamphlets.

The Martel campaign had two offices, one on Lasalle Boulevard in Sudbury and the other in Hanmer. The Sudbury location was rented for $3,000 between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15, while the Hanmer office cost $800.

"That's $3,800, and you're not even moved in," said Aubut.

Then there were the 10 telephones in the Lasalle office and the five in Hanmer, at $82 per month, not including installation costs. Installation of the lines cost $300 per campaign office.

Long-distance telephone calls made throughout the riding added to the expense, while travel meant gas for vehicles and meals on the road.

The Martel campaign had 6,300 signs printed at Journal.
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Author:Bickford, Paul
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Sep 1, 1990
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