The Victorian Country Press Association has taken a group of media buyers on a trip around country Victoria in its annual Flit Around Tour.
The tour last weekend saw buyers from Mitchell and Partners, Zenith Optimedia and the Victorian Government visit sites around Shepparton, Yarrawonga, Wangaratta and Milawa, hosted by Country Press members from the Shepparton Adviser, Yarrawonga Chronicle and North Central Review.
The aim of the initiative, which has been running for the past seven years, is to give buyers a sense of their regional audiences, according to Country Press Australia president and VCPA board member, Bob Yeates, who accompanied the group along with executive director Paul McEvey and government account manager, Kurt Francis.
“Often the people who are making decision in the city, affecting our lives, haven’t had the enjoyable experience of country life,” said Mr Yeates, who owns the Bairnsdale Advertiser, describing the tour as “a real opportunity” to show them.
Mr Yeates encouraged a light-hearted approach by donning a butterfly outfit – and offered the Flit Around guests top hats at the start of the trip in Shepparton.
“When I spoke on the street in front of the bus that was going to take them around country Victoria, that was the most formal part of the weekend,” he said.
The trip that followed, taking in commercial and tourism highlights of the area over two days including the SPC factory and the Milawa Cheese Company, gave the buyers a taste of the unique sense of community Mr Yeates believes rural areas have to offer.
He cited research showing regional and community newspapers were most powerful in driving consumer calls to action, with 58 per cent and 62 per cent respectively prompting a reader to visit a store or business through advertising, compared to 26 per cent of local TV and 27 per cent of local radio.
Summarising the impetus behind the Flit Around Tour, Mr Yeates said: “The closer you are to me, the more likely you are to trust me – and community newspapers are closer to people than any other medium.”
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