Since this summer, I’ve studied the banner ads on the Houston Press website rather closely. I had skin in the game, as a couple of organizations I’m involved with were paying for banner ads.
Even though none of those ads are running now, I find myself noticing the ones that are, and this weekend, I noticed a significant number of ads for bars, clubs, and other businesses. In Dallas.
I’ve seen four today, advertising Avanti, Plush Dallas, Thrive Nightclub, Dick’s Last Resort, The Glass Cactus (technically in Grapevine, NORTH of Dallas), and, although we have a campus in Houston, the Art Institute of Dallas.
I can think of no compelling business reason for Dallas bars to advertise in Houston unless:
1) Dallas, trying to lure Houston into the Metroplex, is testing the first phase of their devious plan by seeing how many drunks can be induced to drive four hours up I-45 to go clubbing.
2) The Press recently did an in-depth demographic analysis on banner ad click-through and discovered the majority of clicks come from pilots and flight attendants who fly the route between Houston and Dallas, so advertisers should buy impressions in both markets.
3) Some doofus ad rep:
- Coded a local ad as a national one, or as a Houston one, so that local (Dallas) ads are running in Houston or on all New Times sites.
- Promised local Dallas customers more impressions than he or she had to give away, so is making it up by running them in other markets.
I suspect some variation on #3, which is why I linked to the Dallas establishments. Maybe they’ll track their pings to see why I’ve got them on my blog, discover their New Times ad rep screwed up, and get a refund or discount.
Houston and Dallas both suffer from sprawl, but even Texas-sized sprawl isn’t going to eat up the distance between our two cities any time soon.