Can TV Advertising Work for You?

You see others on TV and you wonder: Am I missing out on phone calls and website hits, new clients and more profit? Isn’t TV worth trying? But would I have a reasonable chance of success? Is it worth risking my money to produce and run a TV spot to find out if it works? And how much money would we be talking about here?

TV is going through dramatic changes

TV: So Many Choices!
TV in recent years has expanded into hundreds of broadcast, cable and internet channels and programs for viewers to choose from. At the same time, we are bombarded with an overwhelming clutter of advertising messages, from all directions — as many as 5000 a day.

Meanwhile, there is an ongoing explosion of web media, so that people more and more have the option of getting only the entertainment, information and advertising they want, rather than having them pushed on them. Obviously, these three factors affect the response you get to TV advertising, from local level to national. Today, successful TV advertisers have to learn how to work with the web, not just fear it, because it isn’t going away. (For some elaboration on this topic, see my FAQ page.)

It’s not just TV — our relationship with all advertising has changed. The way most people now perceive it, much of advertising is and has always been about tricking us. At the least, it tells us all the positives but leaves out any of the negatives. The worst of it is just outright fraud. So, by now, we’ve been tricked so many times, we’re highly resistant to it. The funny commercial on the Super Bowl no longer makes us think the dishwater beer might taste good the next time.

OK, all that aside, can you still make money from TV advertising? Clearly some people are making plenty of money from it. We know this because we see many advertisers who continue to run their TV ads over months and years. The old rule still applies — if you see someone advertising on TV — or anywhere else — and they continue to do it over time, they are almost certainly making money at it.

Right now, here’s how it looks to me: The effectiveness of all advertising, including the local “immediate response” TV advertising that has always been my speciality — varies greatly among different advertisers and different markets across the country. For example, there are cities where it would be very difficult for a lawyer who has never advertised on TV to just start out now, hoping to get phone calls, and make any money at it. But at the same time, there are cities in which lawyers in certain practices are almost certainly missing out on excellent TV response because they are too afraid of losing money to even try it.

We see two main kinds of TV advertising. One is “branding” — also known as “image” advertising. The idea is to propagandize people over a long time in order to position yourself positively in their minds. Big companies do this. They can afford it. It’s the advertising you see at night on prime-time television. The other kind is “immediate response” — if possible, convince viewers to grab their phones and call right now! This style of television advertising mostly runs on local stations in daytime. It has been the speciality of my agency since 1988.

The essence of Gary Davis Media commercials has always been “Catalog of the Air”. That’s the idea that some people, looking for certain services, will purposely watch TV at a time when they they know that the people who sell those services advertise, and look for someone to call.

Let’s say, Jenny needs a lawyer. He friend tells her, “Jenny, you need to hire one of those lawyers on TV.” Jenny is the viewer my commercials have always been made for. I think, if people ever do stop watching TV commercials, viewers like Jenny will be the last to do it. For one thing, they are the least likely to use the web, instead. And they are not watching all the commercials, anyway. They are just looking for that one person they need to call.

Gary Davis Media - Austin, Texas

Photo of Gary Davis
Gary Davis

This website is supported by Gary Davis Media, an Austin, Texas ad agency founded in 1988.

My clients have always been owners of professional practices and other small businesses. I have produced TV spots for them which run on local TV stations in one or more cities. My clients have always wanted to get phone calls now, from prospects they could then turn into new clients or customers. They wanted “immediate response”. Most of the time I have gotten it for them. It is this “immediate response” TV commercial — designed to produce phone calls and website hits now — that we will mostly discuss here on this website.

Law firms and denture clinics have been my primary areas of work since 1988.

Click for info about advertising them on TV

Take a look around…

I am going to share with you some of what I have learned. I’ll try to give you a running start as you launch into producing and placing your first TV commercials.

So, let’s get started: Is TV advertising right for you? Do you really have a good TV “offer”? How would you actually turn it into a 30-second TV commercial? Would it be better to use an ad agency, or work directly with TV stations? What TV programs should you advertise in? How do you test your commercial without destroying your bank account before you even know if it works? And what if it works? If phone calls and website hits really start to come in, how do you take advantage of them? We’ll get into all of that, and more.