Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Cleaning the airways

October 11, 2010

Often ignored by the fear of high expenses and daunting commitments, television advertising may actually provide a realistic mode of business marketing, especially during any peak season when top-of-mind awareness is crucial for drawing car-care customers.

The media vehicle
After contacting a locally recommend production company, either privately or through your cable company, the toughest task may be brainstorming ideas for the spot and editing what you need into say in a 30 second time frame.

In preparation for your commercial, consider:

  • Filming on a business day;
  • Demonstrating equipment or hands-on services;
  • Noting hours of operation; and
  • Emphasizing professionalism and a clean image.

Jack Anthony, owner of 7 Flags Car Wash, Vallejo, CA, first started using television (TV) advertising in 1988 when the method was relatively new and fairly inexpensive.

Since then, Anthony has kept a regular TV advertising schedule during his peak season, which typically begins in April and continues until September in his area.

It can be hard to tell exactly what TV advertising does for your business, said Anthony, but it initially results in a boost to business.

The trick is trying to find the best times to run a TV spot, and to avoid a plateau in business caused by over-exposure.

This can best be avoided by clarifying your business offerings to the viewers and never expressing false claims.

The customer connection
Eric Wilson, Fresh Looks Auto Detail Center Inc., Elyria, OH, first started using television commercials as an advertising tool about three years ago.

Wilson’s cable provider, Adelphia, was running a promotion at the time that offered a deal on time slots for television viewers in the area.

Like most cable stations, Adelphia ran its local advertising on a database system that would air Wilson’s commercial randomly at a targeted time from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Changing channels
According to Wilson, his business’ commercials were $5 a spot, for 30 seconds of film.

Wilson’s initial contract stated that the commercial would run 300 times a month, adding $1,500 to his advertising budget for television media, plus roughly $500 to film the commercial itself.

Currently, with his new commercial, Wilson has 450 spots per month, targeting the same time period with an audience of more than 45,000 viewers.

Wilson saw a significant increase in business within the first few months of airing the commercial, and production of the spot was easily manageable.

Networking
It’s safe to say that there is a direct correlation for cable advertising related to the market the TV spots are aired in.

Running a commercial in a metropolitan area can be very costly. But for smaller areas, where cable fees and local advertising are more affordable, TV can be very cost-efficient.

In most businesses, an advertising budget is the first thing that is cut, according to Ann Marie Lizzi, production manager for Time Warner Cable Media Sales, Rotterdam, NY.

Time Warner, a cable service provider for more than 18.8 million homes in 27 states, offers a basic commercial package for business owners, which includes three hours of shooting, three hours of editing and the services of a film crew.

Lizzi said that she thinks people are too afraid to commit to an advertising budget. She answers this fear by stressing to the business owners she works with that at least 10 percent of the total budget for any company should be committed to advertising.

You don’t have to break the bank with a commercial to get the message out. By putting out a frequent and consistent message, top-of-mind awareness can be achieved within your audience and your customer base.

According to Lizzi, a standard commercial runs for 30 seconds, but many cable providers also offer 10 or 15 second spots which would just get the name of your company out and run for a much cheaper pricing contract.

What the business owner typically needs to offer production professionals during the process of filming would be:

  • Copy points for creating the script.
  • The business’ logo in a clear hardcopy or a digital format.

An account executive from the cable company would first meet with the business owner to talk about the business, discuss what key demographics should be targeted, and what air schedule would be possible for when the commercial would run.

According to Lizzi, once you’re set with that, you would meet with the producer/director of the commercial to come up with a concept and follow that through pre-production to post-production of the spot.