5year Deal With Cbs Put Miami Beach On Nations Thanksgiving Menu
By Catherine Lackner
Millions of shivering people across the US got an appetizing view of Miami and Miami Beach with their Thanksgiving turkey this year as a result of a new five-year agreement between the City of Miami Beach and CBS.
The network agreed to air, without charge, a pre-taped parade segment as part of its Thanksgiving Day parade coverage. Production of the segment was financed by private donations and sponsorships, said Michael Aller, Miami Beach director of tourism & conventions and its chief of protocol.
"I think this parade was the first event of its kind in South Florida," Mr. Aller said. "It was a regional parade taped on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach," featuring seven floats sponsored by companies as diverse as American Airlines and Jantzen Swimwear and performances by Jon Secada, Olga Trillon, Jorge Moreno and KC and The Sunshine Band.
"We taped two performances to get the best shots," Mr. Aller said.
CBS told city officials that the parade, taped Nov. 6, would be guaranteed 24 minutes’ coverage between 9 a.m. and noon Thanksgiving Day, "and that’s at least 11 million viewers," Mr. Aller said. But the segment ran 44 minutes instead, garnering prime exposure for Miami and Miami Beach.
"We’re very honored to be part of CBS’ All American Thanksgiving Day Parade," Mr. Aller said.
"This will help promote family travel to Miami Beach and that’s something that we’ve needed to go after since Sept. 11. We have to continually reinvent ourselves and, on Thanksgiving Day, you’ve got Mom and Dad and the grandparents in the mix. Coverage like this gets to everybody."
While he would not predict the immediate effect the coverage will have, "I’m sure there will be a tremendous economic impact," Mr. Aller said.
"If you had to buy that kind of time on national television, it would cost hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars," agreed David Whitaker, senior vice president of marketing and tourism of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"It’s important to look at the context, too," Mr. Whitaker said. "It’s frigid and snowing in New York, the announcer and viewers are all bundled up, and here in Miami it’s a glorious tropical day, with sunshine and floats. It’s a picture-postcard image that is priceless."
Mr. Aller said he’d been working on the deal since 2000.
"ABC was showing parades in Honolulu, Nashville, Detroit," he said. "I called them and told them Miami is the sixth borough of New York City and that it would behoove them to look us over. They saw what a wonderful venue it is."