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The Ultimate ROI

No, your not quacking up. Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers hosted the 40 foot spectacle and it was a huge hit for the kids – even those in their 80s and 90s. Over 1 million people – three times its population – came to visit the duck during that period. From Ohio, Maryland and as far away as Iowa and Atlanta. Pittsburgh was packed. The project was the work of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and it was a huge hit.

The jokes were plenty and the duck was the talk of the airwaves. Traffic was snarled and ‘Burghers got used to driving across the bridges with one hand on the wheel and one on the camera or smartphone.

But something else happened that was more than just an interesting side note. The duck brought in revenues estimated in the tens of millions. Costs were minimal – floating it here and floating it back. It required no other care. Day and night for about a month, the duck bobbed quietly next to Point State Park.

What a Return on Investment. This 40 foot toy did nothing but generate excitement, make little kids out of big ones, and allowed us to forget about the world’s problems for awhile.  This was not just a display, it was an event. And it brought in tens of millions at little cost.

Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate our thinking when it comes to public funding as well.

Mark Schuster, Partner

October 24, 2013

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