Promotional Spotlight: Ridgway Record Yard Signs

Promotional Spotlight: Ridgway Record Yard Signs


Yard signs unify readers, strengthen sales relationships

When the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns began, many newspaper readers were looking for ways to feel united while sheltering at home. Christie Gardner, publisher of Ridgway Record, Kane Republican and The Daily Press, knew the community needed a symbolic way to express their unity, and she also knew that local businesses were looking for a way to let the community know they were still open and supporting them. “I had this idea in April 2020. As a community we need to pull together, to stick together, metaphorically,” said Gardner. “So we created a yard sign campaign, and the signs read, ‘We are all in this together.’”

As many publishers and ad directors can attest, there was little to be certain of in the early months of the COVID-related shutdowns, and Gardner was very much aware of that. She had a strong relationship with a sign vendor who would provide the signs in orders of 72 each. Gardner decided to start with one order for each publication so as to not commit to more signs that she might be able to find sponsors. Sponsorship of the signs was not exclusive; each sign featured several sponsors that were solicited from regular advertising businesses. Gardner said the goal of the campaign was simply to be able to offer the signs to the community without cost through sponsorships. “We knew the fee for the order, so we worked from there to determine what the sponsorship cost breakdown needed to be, depending on the number of sponsoring companies,” said Gardner. The signs were full color with print on front and back and were available for pick up at the respective newspaper offices.

Gardner said the reaction to the signs from both readers and local business sponsors was far stronger than she had anticipated. “From the feedback I was getting,” said Gardner, “I could really tell that the community felt the words from the sign – we were all in this together.” Gardner said that every time they seemed to have just placed an order, they were nearly out of the signs and placing a new order. She said that each time she called another local business to request a sponsorship, it seemed the answer was always in the affirmative. The campaign yielded more than 1,000 signs for the community.

The campaign popularity and solid sponsorship support led Gardner to create another sign campaign in the months that followed. That campaign featured local graduates at each of the regional high schools. Gardner and her team created one sign for every senior. “We planned for the number of signs by number of seniors for each school,” said Gardner. “Then we determined the total cost for each school’s sign order – worked out pricing for sponsors from that formula.” Gardner said the graduate sign campaign was also met with strong sponsorship and a deep appreciation from the community. She is planning to continue the graduate sign campaign, even in a non-pandemic affected world, and create new sign campaigns in the near future.

For additional information, please contact Christie Gardner at (814) 773-3161 or