Billboard calls out Bass Pro

Geoff Pickle, Web Editor
Not getting through to a potential client? Why not take out a billboard and ask them publicly?

That’s exactly what Flower Mound, Texas-based Ivie & Associates Inc. has done on an East Kearney Street billboard near U.S. Highway 65.

The sign, which went up March 26, reads “Bass Pro, CEO/Executive, please go to whyivie.com.” The move is certainly a rather unique approach to marketing. Following the link takes you to a Web site listing the benefits of working with the marketing firm and showcasing its major clients, including Wal-Mart, Home Depot and AAA travel services.

Brandon Ivie, president of Ivie & Associates, told me this afternoon that the billboard and corresponding Web site are the first time the 20-year-old marketing firm has taken this kind of approach. After years of direct mail, e-mail and phone calls to Bass Pro went unanswered, Ivie said company leaders decided they didn’t want the company to be one of those that fall through the cracks.

“We obviously see Bass Pro as a first-class operation,” he said. “We wanted to be as loud as possible to get the opportunity to articulate what we can bring to the table.

“If we can achieve a five-minute conversation just to explain to them what we do and introduce an opportunity for a 30-minute face-to-face, this is a huge success,” Ivie added. “If, after a five-minute conversation, it totally doesn’t fit what they’re looking for, at least we’ll have had the conversation, which we haven’t been able to do to this point.”

Ivie conceded that Bass Pro’s marketing department already is getting the job done, but he said he feels Ivie & Associates can fill a niche, providing marketing outsourcing opportunities.

Whether Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris or President Jim Hagale have seen the billboard is anyone’s guess. Bass Pro spokesman Larry Whiteley said it’s the first time a company has reached out to Bass Pro in this way. So, by that very virtue, it’s sure to, at the very least, have gotten their attention.

It’s kind of like a hopeful groom pulling out a diamond ring at a basketball game at center court. It’s loud, it’s proud and everyone can see it. It’s close to asking, “Bass Pro, will you marry me?”

Out-of-state firm Ivie seems to literally be following the mantra of “Go big or go home.”

What do you say, Bass Pro?

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