MENOMINEE — What began as a recommendation to continue the county’s advertising on a cable television series turned into an in-depth discussion on how the Menominee County can better advertise its parks through new mediums.

The Menominee County Board of Commissioners discussed its continued advertising agreement with Morning Dove Productions at its meeting Tuesday. This agreement allows the county to be featured in the commercials of the television series “Polka, Polka, Polka,” which airs every Sunday morning and is produced in Shawano, Wis. Menominee County would receive two commercials per episode for 26 weeks at the cost of $2,600.

The Menominee County Parks has continued this advertisement for several years and the Parks and Recreation Committee recommended the county to take the offer again.

Commissioner Jan Hafeman said the advertising has been effective in the past.

Commissioner Steven Gromala said every week one of the program’s sponsors has an expanded three-to-five minute commercial, and Menominee County is often featured in this segment. 

However, not every commissioner was on board with “Polka Polka, Polka.” 

“The audience being targeted with this advertising is getting older,” Commissioner Larry Phelps said. “We should start targeting a different audience... We should think about using other advertising other than a Polka show. We should discuss investing into other advertising areas.”

“M-35 is part of a national scenic route, and people come here to travel on it,” Phelps said. “Are these people learning about the area on a local Polka show? Probably not.”

Phelps suggested looking into RV and travel magazines, radio and other advertising methods to reach a broader audience.

County Administrator Jason Carviou concurred there are other avenues the county could advertise through, which may be more effective. 

“However, if you want to be on TV, this is basically your cheapest option. Any other programs would be two or three times the cost,” he said. Carviou also suggested it may be a better option to simply not advertise on television at all.

Hafeman suggested conducting a survey of the park users to learn who is using the parks and how they learned about them.

“Find out what sort of things they listen to, read, go to,” Hafeman said. She suggested giving the surveys to new campers as they check in to collect data. “That way the county parks can make an intelligent judgement on how to spend its money.”

“I think its an excellent idea to have a pamphlet or questionnaire, but it should also include questions about the facilities themselves to see where improvement is needed,” Commissioner Larry Johnson Jr. said.

Johnson also emphasized the importance of technology and social media as modern advertising methods.

“Social media, paid advertising on search engines, I don’t know what that would cost be, but it is something to look into,” he said. “Facebook lets you pay for advertising and you can choose the target audience and I know every time I search for something on Google I see paid ads. We don’t need to advertise to the entire country, but maybe it can be used to just hit the Midwest.”

Carviou said a Facebook page for the Menominee County parks is currently in the works and will be ready to launch in the future. However, he cautioned that social media takes a lot of time and effort to keep up-to-date that the county should be aware of. 

Hafeman said there was no time to implement new advertising avenues this year, but suggested setting up the Facebook page and sending out a survey to collect data over the year.

Commissioner Bill Cech said he believed the agreement has worked out in the past and he would go with the parks committee’s recommendation.

The board chose to move the advertising agreement with Morning Dove Productions ahead for a vote at the March 26 board meeting.