While railroads and truckers have put their best face forward for years with television ads, the waterways industry is muscling into this media market with a new spot that began airing in the Washington, D.C., cable market in February.
Called “Keep America Moving,” the 30-second commercial highlights the value of the inland waterway system to jobs, the environment, energy efficiency and traffic congestion relief.
It is being funded by voluntary contributions from members of the Waterways Council Inc., an industry advocacy group, and will run for four months. WCI has also developed a similar three-minute video promoting waterways benefits.
The goal, explained Cornel Martin, WCI’s president, is to educate the public, with a focus on policymakers in Washington, about the importance of waterways to the economy. Martin said the barge industry has traditionally been “out of sight, out of mind or not well understood.” Education, he says, is the key to winning broader political support for important issues facing the industry, such as approving healthy budgets for navigation projects.
The American Waterways Operators, another industry group, is also airing radio spots in the D.C. market.
“It’s a small step,” Martin said at a press luncheon last week. “We’re trying to come up with innovative ways to get the message out.”