Ad contract in Eugene fuels growth for agency in Reno

Airport advertising is taking off for the Elizabeth Younger agency in Reno, which recently got the concessionaire contract for the airport in Eugene Ore., adding to its Boise and Reno airport contracts.

At the Reno - Tahoe International Airport, the agency handles about 110 advertising displays backlit, banner, video, and spectaculars, says Liz Younger. Plus, it's installing 10 state-of-the-art LCD (liquid crystal display) screens mounted on the columns in the baggage claim area to run a 20-minute video loop.

The Boise airport hangs about two-thirds that number of signs and the Eugene airport about one-third.

The agency won the Reno concession in 1996, when the airport authority decided to outsource the effort and put out a request for proposals. The airport has renewed with Younger twice since then. The Boise and Eugene contracts were won the same way, says Younger by responding to requests for proposals.

And that's its primary expansion strategy as Younger seeks to build an empire of airports throughout the West. She explains: If the firm can develop a regional base of airports, it can market all the airports as a group to national advertisers.

"We're on the short list for San Diego," she adds.

Depending on location, advertisers pay $650 to $750 per year for a backlit sign on the Reno concourse; in Boise that drops to $400 to $600; in Eugene it's $250 to $350.

Customer inquiries come from the company's own display ad: "Don't miss your connection." The company also prospects for advertisers and gets referrals from the airport authority.

But does the advertising work? "Our renewal rate runs 80 to 85 percent," says Younger. The agency Web site says the Reno venue serves five million affluent travelers a year.

The advertising revenue goes to airport authorities. That's a good thing, says Younger, because it enables airports to keep landing fees down, which encourages more flights.

The Younger Agency started 22 years ago with a focus on public relations, says Younger.

It was the initial Reno airport contract that shifted its focus more to sales and marketing.

However expansive the Western airports business grows, the next big thing might be buses. Younger also wraps the ValleyRide bus transit system in Boise.


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