We must take advantage of publicity

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 22, 2003

It will take a while before the people of Demopolis know how many people watched the A&E special that aired Thursday night across the country. By the time the show re-airs over the holidays, the count will rise into the millions.

The citizens who helped bring A&E &045;&045; along with the Food Network &045;&045; should be applauded for their efforts. During Thursday night’s show, "Ultimate Small Town Christmas," this city was portrayed in a positive light. We were featured for all the right reasons.

Most who watched the program felt a bit of pride in the production. Sure, we came off a little "red," as some might contest, but that’s why we live in Alabama. That’s what makes us unique. Most of all, we like it that way.

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During the holiday season, it’s a good bet we’ll see the program air a few more times, though A&E hasn’t announced specific times, yet. We believe the more times the program airs, the better off we’ll be.

Our hope, obviously, is that people all around the country will learn something about Demopolis and make plans to visit. We hope they’ll spend their money in our stores. We hope they’ll tell their friends about us.

And we think there’s a problem with that mindset. We don’t need to "hope." We need to make it happen.

Demopolis has a couple of opportunities now. We can sit back and watch the spurts of tourists who visit. OR, we can go out and get those tourists.

The leadership of this community should take the free publicity from A&E and spend some money to back up that publicity. We should label ourselves as one of the "Top 5" small towns in America. We should put a billboard on an interstate. We should buy a commercial. For that matter, let’s buy a newspaper ad while we’re at it.

Whatever we do, we cannot sit back and wait to see what Demopolis gets from our national recognition. We must go out and make it happen.

Doing otherwise would be a waste of the countless hours the citizens of this town spent making us shine for the nation.