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Check out the story on TV advertising in the June Model Retailer

By Hal Miller
Published: May 5, 2011
Been thinking about advertising on television but just can’t seem to get off the dime? Several dealers are convinced it works, and we give you some of the tools to get started in the June issue of Model Retailer.


Here are some comments on the subject from retailer Carl Dann of Smokey Mountain Trader in Cleveland, Ga.:


We have been advertising on cable TV for about 10 years now.


I stayed away from TV advertising at first, assuming it would be higher than radio, newspaper, billboards, etc. Surprise, surprise: it’s cheaper! But remember, TV advertising is 3-D, it’s got to “pop” or you’re wasting your time.


We advertise more in the September to January season, but I definitely see a dip in store visits and sale in the months I advertise less. So I'm moving towards heavy TV advertising year-round. It's foolish to scrimp a few hundred bucks on advertising then sit here burning the lights wondering where all the people are. Film it, and they will come!


The best time of the day seems to be sometime between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. HA!  Seriously, it’s best to really mix it up and catch a broader range of audience. For channels, we run the gamut from the Outdoor Network to Lifetime. Again, got to cast a wider net to catch more fish!


Our local cable provider (Comcast Cable) has about a 50 mile radius in our standard area, but since we are on contract, we go into “super-area rotation” and we've shown up as much as 90 miles away as filler commercials for other areas on an even wider variety of cable networks, even popping up during the Super Bowl (For $29,999,999 less than other Super Bowl advertisers paid!)

I have no doubt cable advertising increases our bottom line and it helps that not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come through the door and say “Hey, I saw you guys on TV. Great commercial.”  I'm no retail psychologist, but folks like to buy from a store that’s “known” and TV gets you in that category.

Important: You have to have a hook, so if you're not a natural comedic director, find someone who is and make your commercial memorable. Remember, you're selling color, flash, humor, and fun. If you're gonna be flat, might as well have a black-and-white ad in the paper (that will cost you a lot more $$, by the way).

Be sure to catch the June issue of
Model Retailer for more!

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Hal Miller did an excellent job in his article about advertising on television. I'd like to mention one word of caution, though. Production costs for a good :30 or :60 commercial can be high and in this case, the buyer definitely gets what he/she pays for. Some cable companies have their own production facilities and will factor in the cost of the commercial when they quote the total ad package. Others will only air a commercial brought to them that meets their production standards. Depending on the location of the hobby shop, there may be many qualified video production companies to choose from. Or, the pickings could be slim.

Either way, do your homework when choosing a production company. Make sure to retain not only the copyright for the spot but also all ancillary rights for its use. And ask for a quote (usually good for 30 days) with specific costs (not just a ballpark figure) so you can price shop, comparing apples to apples. Don't be afraid of the process, though. It will all be worth it when you see your ad on the big screen and more customers come walking through your door!

Mike Marshall
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