Creative Overview

In September 2016, we announced that our creative mission for the following year would be to, Own the Cool. In essence, this meant we were going to work tirelessly to highlight all of the amazing, powerful and, of course, cool stuff happening inside The Natural State.

Given the incredible volume of unique things going on in our state these days, it’s been quite a challenge. But a fun one nevertheless. Over the past year, we’ve shown off all manner of activities and experiences that can be found every day in Arkansas – from art to food to music to mountain biking to beer and a whole lot more. 

Under the campaign theme, Naturally Made, we’ve positioned Arkansas as a destination where great things are made. The Natural State and its diverse settings let our visitors make memories, moments, connections, weekends, friendships, selfies and anything else they desire, right inside our borders. 

Creative Tone and Feel

Above all, our creative efforts are striving for one thing – authenticity. Research tells us that today’s consumers want to see a more realistic depiction of a potential destination and a more honest representation of what the experience might be like.

To accommodate this, our photography and videography are consciously shot and edited to have a looser, less produced feel, which is often easier said than done. One way we’ve helped capture a more genuine version of Arkansas is by casting more real people and fewer actors. With very few exceptions, everyone that appears in our creative work is either an actual family or a real couple. The camaraderie, intimacy and chemistry this creates in our creative is evident and powerful. Shots, scenarios and interactions feel honest and convey the authenticity that prospects demand.

Musical Influence  

So how else can we portray an experience that can’t be duplicated by any other state or destination? We’ve added in the powerful element of original music that’s created by artists inside our borders. Every song featured in our tourism creative is an Arkansas artist. Their talent adds just one more layer of energy and engagement to our TV and digital executions. It’s not only created a buzz for our advertising but has also helped shed a light on some of the amazing talent that calls Arkansas home. 

FY 2018 Consumer Media Plans 

Media Objectives

The FY 2018 media plans (FW17 and SS18) will work to help achieve the following objectives.

  • Maximize awareness of the Arkansas creative messages
  • Generate reach against the primary and secondary target audiences:
  • Primary
    • Adults 25-54 (emphasis on Women)
    • Secondary
      • Adults 55+ (emphasis on Women)
  • Drive traffic to
  • Generate travel to Arkansas

Media Research Resources

Various syndicated research resources help us to determine the most effective and efficient media mix.

  • Mediamark Research and Intelligence (MRI) – Media usage data
  • Telmar – Cross tab software and reach and frequency reporting
  • Nielsen – TV and radio ratings data
  • eMarketer – Trends and media usage data

Media Usage Trends

Media usage patterns continue to change. Detailed below is a summary of where consumers are projected to be spending their media time over the course of a day in 2018 versus three years ago in 2015 based on current data from eMarketer. 


2018 (Projected)






Total Media






Total Traditional


















Other Traditional


















Total Digital


















Other Digital






People now spend about the same amount of time each day with digital and traditional media. As has been the case the last few years, Mobile use continues to drive the increase in time spent with digital. People continue to shift their media time away from traditional media to digital, particularly print. TV still holds the top individual share of time by medium.

Consumer Media Strategies and Tactics

The following provides the recommended media approach for FY 2018. We recommend implementing the following strategies and tactics for the state of Arkansas in order to reach the key target audiences and feeder markets most effectively and cost-efficiently. Details such as recommended markets, magazines, CO-OP opportunities, spending, etc., can be found on the detailed FW17 and SS18 media flowcharts.


  • Local Broadcast Television
    • Broadcast TV will maximize reach against adults in key feeder markets.
    • Both 30-second and 15-second spots are recommended to extend the media budget and generate more frequency
    • Support is recommended in key out-of-state and in-state feeder markets
    • We continue to recommend the following news dayparts to reach consumers looking for local news and information
      • Early Morning (6am to 10am)
      • Early News (5pm to 7pm)
      • Late News (9pm to 10:30pm)
    • Hispanic broadcast television is recommended to generate reach and awareness against this growing audience.
    • Television Broadcasters of Arkansas (TBA)
      • We continue to recommend a partnership with TBA. The program provides two bonus spots for every paid spot and will help to cost-efficiently extend our reach.
      • TBA is a nonprofit association that funds scholarships to students studying broadcast journalism at colleges in the state.
      • 30-second and 60-second TV commercials will rotate on eight broadcast TV stations in Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Little Rock.
      • The investment generates a three-to-one return on investment at minimum.
      • We continue to recommend the TBA co-op for Arkansas CVBs and A&Ps, where their TV spots can rotate in the bonus inventory. Spots will run at no charge to industry participants, though small trafficking and production fees will apply.
      • Cable will help to extend the reach of broadcast TV and add frequency as well. It also allows us to target specific interests of our audiences through the unique content of various networks.
      • As with broadcast, a mix of 30-second and 15-second spots is recommended. The 15s will be bookended in commercial breaks, one falling at the front of the break and the other at the end as possible or run back-to-back.
      • As with broadcast, key out-of-state and in-state markets are recommended.
      • We recommend the following dayparts to extend the reach and impact of the broadcast TV.
        • Primetime will reach consumers in the top-rated programs that they prefer
        • Weekend programming will help build frequency
        • Arkansas Cable Television Association (ACTA)
          • We recommend continuing the partnership with the Arkansas Cable Television Association (ACTA).
          • 30-second TV commercials will run on cable systems across the state.
          • ACTA will match every paid spot with one bonus spot.
          • Partnership will generate an at least two-to-one return on investment and generated a three-to-one return in SS17.
          • Branson Television
            • Branson Visitor TV and the Branson Vacation Channel are again recommended to reach vacationers just across the border in Missouri.
            • Three-minute spots will rotate on two closed circuit travel channels in Branson hotel rooms, campsites and businesses.
            • Three months of exposure during the peak vacation period is recommended.
  • Local Cable Television


  • Websites
    • We continue to recommend shifting ad dollars toward digital to provide a stronger presence for Arkansas. This is based on the strong growth in consumer time spent with digital and the strong results we have generated in terms of cost-efficiently driving visits to
    • The specific goals of the digital campaign are detailed below.
      • Generate awareness and maximize reach
      • Drive visitors to and maximize page views
      • Generate Vacation Planning Kit orders and email sign-ups
    • We recommend continuing to place the vast majority of our digital budget in video ads, both desktop and mobile – 85%+ – as they generate greater creative impact than static banners. Video has also proven to be more effective at driving visitors to
    • With the continued growth of mobile device usage and the effectiveness of mobile video in our past buys, we recommend placing the majority of digital support, 65%+, on mobile devices – smartphones and tablets
    • We will also continue to seek out and implement new ad technologies such as DVAST video, native out-stream video, content ads and others in order to help Arkansas build even greater engagement and awareness with consumers.
    • Online media support will be concentrated in the primary feeder states of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. We will explore other states as research dictates.
    • We will also continue to implement in-state online support to promote in-state travel.
    • A mix of mass reach sites, targeted ad networks and targeted niche sites is recommended to cost-efficiently maximize our online reach.
    • The websites that we partner with will be based on their historic cost-efficiency and effectiveness in terms of our key metrics – visits, page views and cost-efficiency – as well as new opportunities and technologies.
    • A detailed SS18 recommendation will be presented in January after we evaluate the performance of the FW17 digital campaign.
    • Digital/Connected TV
      • Digital and connected TV is again recommended based on the changing viewing habits of consumers and growth in content consumption through smart and connected TVs.
      • Digital Co-op
        • We also recommend continuing the Digital co-op campaign using a site retargeting cooperative model that will be offered to tourism industry partners in the state.
        • The co-op will focus on driving qualified traffic to partner sites. Both new and returning traffic to the state’s website will receive retargeting ads with specific calls-to-action that direct visitors to partner websites.
        • Site retargeting keeps your brand front and center to bring “window shoppers” back to take action. Users that go to will be retargeted with partner ads as they continue their web activity.
        • The Talk Business and Politics Partnership will provide a platform to discuss issues related to economic impact, research and statistics, regional developments and legislative agendas pertaining to tourism.
          • Partnership includes a presence on and a 30-second spot weekly in Talk Business and Politics with Roby Brock on KATV, Channel 7.


  • Consumer
    • Magazine will help to extend the reach of the overall media plan and provide a detailed advertising message to key niches in key local and regional markets.
    • While we still believe strongly in magazine, research reflects that more time is being spent online than with magazines. Based on this shift from magazines to digital, we do recommend slightly reducing our magazine presence to help fund increased digital support.
    • Niche, local/regional lifestyle and travel publications, as well as local Arkansas publications, are recommended. The following magazines are recommended in each category.
    • We will place four-color, full-page ads with adjacent 1/3-page or 1/4-page units when possible, as well as half-page ads.
    • Co-op
      • Co-op opportunities have been planned in key consumer magazines, allowing tourism properties and destinations in the state to advertise cost-efficiently using Parks and Tourism’s negotiated rates.


  • Local broadcast radio
    • 30-second radio schedules will run in key out-of-state and in-state metro and rural markets to extend the reach of the television and digital media support.
    • The Early Summer Value radio will also be offered as a co-op opportunity to the industry.
    • Through this program, tourism industry partners will have the opportunity to purchase radio schedules at very reduced rates.  Their 30-second spot will be married to Arkansas’s 30-second spot to create a 60-second spot at a very efficient cost (well under the usual cost of a 60-second spot).


  • We again recommend the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Explore Arkansas section to supplement in-state travel efforts.


  • We recommend continuing the Arkansas Welcome Center outdoor campaign with boards running in Van Buren/Fort Smith, Texarkana, Blytheville and West Memphis.
    • These boards will reach travelers at the major entry points to Arkansas, directing them to the welcome centers.

Added Value Media

  • Each year, CJRW negotiates a significant amount of bonus media exposure with the media buys in the form of discounted rates, free ads, ad upgrades, free reader service and digital exposure. 
  • Bonus media increases the overall reach and frequency of the campaign and is an essential part of the media strategy. 
  • The total added value negotiated for FY 2018 is $3,534,557 and extends the media plan by over 49%.