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Taking Care of Business
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Old November 7th, 2009, 02:04 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Posts: 232
TV commercials

I live in an area that has it's own TV market, though much smaller than neighboring areas (like L.A.). I've been watching some horrible TV commercials for local companies and have wondered how the companies that produced those commercials go about obtaining those jobs. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to how to market my company as available to do commercials and/or to seek out prospective clients for that purpose?
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Old November 7th, 2009, 05:30 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Satellite Beach, Fl
Posts: 784
Most of those really bad spots you see on local TV are done by the local cable distributor that sold the business the ad time. They usually are not charged extra for the production and well.... Like anything else you get what you pay for. I heard a great quote once and I can't remember who said it but it went like this, "When people need to advertise in the worst possible way.... They usually do."

Last edited by Jerry Porter; November 7th, 2009 at 06:02 AM.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 08:21 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Conway, NH
Posts: 1,745
Even the local broadcast stations will throw in the basic production costs as part of the overall costs. In smaller markets like Bakersfield there's no incentive to come up with creative and/or quality spots. When they sell the client a package, they've got the money and they are the only game in town.

I did manage to get a local client to use me to create two spots this spring and summer and they were quite chuffed with the results. (Now let me put my shoulder back in its socket after patting myself on the back.) They thought it worth the extra spend.

For me, this is not a market I want to pursue because it's too hard to close. Local companies are not sophisticated enough to recognize the benefits of higher production values are worth the costs and those that do (like car dealers) just want something like the old Cal Worthington spots. Go figure.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 08:46 AM   #4
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Location: Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly Winnipeg, Manitoba) Canada
Posts: 4,086
This exact market was a "significant" part of my business plan back in Winnipeg. On an average year, I did about $8 - 10k for a small handful of agencies that wanted something either "better" or "more personalized" than the broadcaster was giving them for the amount of time they had purchased OR I was producing Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that broadcasters are required to air a certain amount of for free during a normal broadcast week.

In one case, the client was already buying a block of time for an independently produced show on a weekly basis so my take is that we got preferential treatment with regard to the placement of our PSAs in the schedule. I COULD be wrong about that though...

My average cost for something designed to "take the place of" broadcaster produced "quick and dirty" commercials was between $1000 and $2500, depending on the requirements and time involved. I did a series of 8 $1000 PSAs two years ago in one month and was able to reuse most of the graphical and sound elements so for me it was worthwhile. Plus, even after doing broadcast for 11 years, there is still something cool about seeing your work on TV, ESPECIALLY during the local broadcast of American Idol. I used to get a lot of calls from friends saying "I just saw the ****** PSA during AI!"
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster Blog:
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Old November 8th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #5
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 3,697
I think Shaun's approach is very good. I've had some similar experiences.

For me, the local cable companies actually asked for my demo reel after doing a couple of spots for my clients. They were able to show my work to clients who wanted a little bit more than the "nothing" quality they were offering. In addition to the spots I produced I got my 15% agency fee. It's easy to delivery a spot of much higher production value than the cable company in two days and then get the percentage for the buy too.
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