When Plattsburgh Air Force Base closed in 1995 and the community agreed on a plan to go out on its own to market itself, it knew advertising was going to be a key ingredient for success. The area was going to have to assess its assets and liabilities to make known its advantages and either obscure or remedy its disadvantages.

This it did very well, as evidenced by the bustle of life and business at the former base, from end to end. Part of that bustle is Plattsburgh International Airport, where hundreds of passengers leave and arrive every day.

Those comings and goings are good for the community, of course, for many reasons. Activity is the pulse of any area. Beyond that, some of the people passing in and out may decide to eat, shop or stay overnight — or even to spend some time with us on a vacation.

At the Press-Republican, we know a little bit about advertising, as we have spent two centuries ballyhooing its effectiveness.

So we were especially appreciative to learn that an unexpected new source of advertising was being made available without anybody even asking for it.

Anyone who flies Direct Air to or from Florida or Myrtle Beach, S.C., is offered the chance to read the airline's in-flight magazine. The magazine is intended to increase Direct Air's business by touting the high points of some of its destinations. In a current edition, Plattsburgh is one of those destinations.

"Besides being home to SUNY Plattsburgh and the breathtaking Ausable Chasm," it says, "the area's former massive Plattsburgh Air Force Base (closed in 1995) has been converted into the perfect airport to serve the millions of residents and tourists in a 200-mile radius. … On any visit to Plattsburgh's airport, you're likely to experience some international flavor from the many French-Canadians from Montreal and its nearby Quebec towns." The article notes the proximity to Montreal, one of North America's greatest cities, and to skiing in Lake Placid and fishing or camping in the Adirondacks.

It's impossible to say how many readers will be enticed into taking the magazine's advice, but, as any advertiser knows, the more eyes that land on a promotional piece, the better the chances of persuading a pair of them. And the opportunity costs us nothing.

The article concludes: "Don't forget about the unlikely little spot in New York state's North Country region with the funny name, Plattsburgh."

We'd never regarded the name of Plattsburgh with the same apparent amusement as the writer. But if that's the price we have to pay for an unsolicited sales pitch, it seems reasonable enough.

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