Cable Television Advertising-“How not to”

Cable television advertising is an inexpensive and easy way to get your business' message on television. Spots can be purchased for as little as $10 or less. You may be able to target your specific trade area. Your local cable provider might even produce your television commercial for free!

How can you go wrong?

1. Letting the cable provider write the script and control the production of your commercial.

The sales people and the production people with the cable provider are not professional script writers and it's not what they get paid to do. In fact their compensation is not tied to the quality or effectiveness of the commercials they're producing. The production people know how to operate a camera and know something about lighting and audio but to do a professional job they need to be supervised and directed by a professional television advertising producer.

You don't have to be an advertising writer/producer to have noticed local television commercials that seemed a little gamey or less than polished. It's probable that these are spots written and produced by a local cable provider or television station.

2. Making your media buy based solely on the recommendation of the sales rep.

The sales rep is not a professional media buyer. The cable rep's charge is to sell cable network advertising inventory at the highest possible rate that they can charge. Another responsibility of the sales rep is to sell inventory that is less in demand whether or not it's suitable for the advertiser. Therefore their recommendations are influenced by several factors that are unrelated to your best interests.

3. Buying Cheap Spots.

Cheap spots are cheap for a reason. The audience is small therefore the demand for them is low. A campaign of hundreds cheap spots even if they're targeted to a niche audience isn't going to reach enough of your market to help you unless it's combined with spots that reach a large audience.

4. Buying a "Package".

Cable providers are always selling packages. There's the "Summer Sizzler" the "Hot Spots", the "Lots-O-Spots" or just the plain old "Frequency Package". These are designed to sell inventory that doesn't normally sell. Usually a combination of Monday-Friday daytime inventory, Monday-Sunday 5am-12midnight rotators on low demand networks such as CNBC, Animal Planet, Oxygen and The Travel Channel that are packaged together so the average spot rate comes in at less than $10 or so. The purpose of these packages is to sell unsold inventory for the cable operator. This is probably not an effective strategy for a unique advertiser.

5. Not evaluating your market's local television stations.

Don't assume you can't afford to incorporate local broadcast stations into your plan or even use broadcast exclusively. If your target audience is lower income or retirees your local broadcast stations may be the best choice.

I sold local television advertising for Time Warner Cable in Austin, Texas for ten years. For the last nine years I've planned and executed media buys for my clients in several markets across the United States. My expertise in utilizing cable television continues to grow and develop.

If you're interested in contacting me regarding cable television advertising or other advertising and marketing issues, please click here or on any of the contact links on this website.