City launches $30K marketing campaign

City urges to businesses “Hold Fast” as part of effort to promote Seal Beach

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Posters in the windows of shops both thriving and empty, as well as a banner across Main Street at the PCH intersection, urge Seal Beach to “Hold Fast.” It’s part of a campaign to market Seal Beach businesses. The city announced the campaign in a Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 16, press release issued after the Sun’s editorial deadline.

According to a recent statement from the city, the campaign is expected to last six months. Seal Beach has hired MarketSnag, a local marketing firm (owned by past Planning Commission member Deb Machen) to conduct the campaign. “Hold Fast,” a nautical term for enduring a storm, has a website, a Facebook and other social media platforms, according to the city’s statement.

During a phone interview, District One Councilman Joe Kalmick said the council allocated the $30,000 at the time the “parklet” outdoor dining areas were approved. Minutes of the June 8 council meeting show that the “Consideration of COVID-19 Related Temporary Business Reopening Support Measures” included four actions, two of them to create parklets, one to establish a $30,000 marketing campaign.

Kalmick said the allocation was up to $30,000.

“The cost of the banners, posters, etc. is a separate expense,” wrote Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos in a Sept. 18 email.

The Sun has filed a California Public Records Act request for the contract, requests for proposals and invoices for the Hold Fast campaign.

“It’s been a bit slow rolling out, but it’s starting to get some traction,” Kalmick said.

“The campaign was just recently launched with the creation of the webpage, social media outreach and the installation of banners,” wrote Gallegos. “A number of additional steps will occur over the course of the campaign, which is intended to last approximately 6 months, that at a minimum will include additional banners, advertising, media and social media outreach, and email outreach.”

Kalmick said the message of the Hold Fast Seal Beach campaign is to let Seal Beach and anyone else know that businesses are open, and they should come down or come back to Seal Beach.

Recently installed Chamber President Rob Jahncke said he thought city officials let the Chamber know about the marketing campaign about two months ago. He explained that the city meets with the Chamber monthly. He and outgoing Chamber President Kori DeLeon were attending the meeting as part of the transition. Jahncke pointed out that, prior to COVID-19, the campaign would have been presented to the general meeting of the Chamber. He said meetings have been pretty much jammed up by COVID.

As to the marketing campaign, Jahncke said, “It’s pretty much city-driven.”

“Approximately $5,000 of the budgeted amount has been spent to date,” Gallegos wrote.

“The funds have primarily been distributed to the local marketing consultant retained to assist the city with the effort, MarketSnag,” he wrote.

“To date, these funds have gone towards creating the Hold Fast Seal Beach marketing statement and log/brand; the creation of bus shelter ads, banners, posters, and business cards; the creation of a promotional video; the creation of social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube; creation of a landing page on the city’s website; the establishment and administration of a weekly support local Seal Beach business contest; the creation of a press release for the launch of the campaign; and the establishment and administration of an email campaign,” Gallegos wrote.