About Gary Davis Media -- an Austin, Texas ad agency.
Specializing in TV advertising for small business and professionals.
At this time, I would probably not take on a new client. (But there might be an exception.)
My clients sell services people need. Quite a few of them are attorneys -- social security disability law, personal injury, medmal, criminal, product liability. Others include two dental clinics. I am in Austin, Texas, but most of my clients are in other cities.
Immediate Response TV advertising. That's primarily what I do. By "Immediate Response", I mean commercials that attempt to persuade prospects to take action -- usually call my client -- now. (I use "Immediate Response" rather than "Direct Response" because "DR" has come to suggest the sale of products. My specialty is selling services rather than products.)
Your offer: The most important ingredient. I encourage and work with my clients to help them make great offers. Their offers are what they want to trade the prospects for the prospects' time and money. When an offer is good, it usually doesn't take much advertising to get results.
TV commercials need not be expensive to make. For some Immediate Response advertisers, a basic "graphics" commercial consisting of an announcer's voice and music over changing words on the screen, is all that is required. Cost to produce: Probably around $500. More typical productions, with the client or a spokesperson on camera, can usually be made for under $1000. Remember, it is your offer, not how much money was spent making your commercial, that does the most to make it work.
Commercials produced at cost. In most cases, when I make commercials to be placed by my agency, I make them for my actual studio cost. There is no markup to my clients. If the commercial works, I'll do just fine from the "agency commission" I get from the TV stations.
High-quality results from low-cost airtime. During the 1950's, Alvin Eicoff, the inventor of radio and TV "direct response" commercials, discovered that expensive, heavily-watched, prime-time TV produced inferior telephone response. Much less expensive daytime programming produced more calls for the dollar. Still true today.
Commercial copyrights. When an agency like mine makes a commercial, it owns the copyright to the commercial, unless it's signed over by contract. In most cases, I don't charge anything for writing and producing my clients' commercials. I only get reimbursement for my actual expenses. So, I keep the copyrights. The commercials must be placed through my agency. If someone wants me to produce a commercial that will not be placed through my agency, then I will charge for my creative writing services and sign over the rights to the client.
Paying for your schedule. All of my clients pay as they go for their TV advertising. That does not mean that they have to pay for everything we book up front, as soon as we book it. We may book TV time for a couple of weeks, a month or a year (schedules cancelable with 2-weeks notice to the stations) depending on what kind of deals I can get -- but most clients pay by the month for the next month's airtime, a few days before the month's schedule begins. Read this if you wonder why I handle all my TV business this way and why I suggest you do too.
The financial statement. My clients regularly receive a statement, detailing to the penny the money they have paid to me and what I have paid out on their behalf, backed with invoices from TV stations and other vendors.
Want to sell a product, rather than a service? I get a lot of email and a few calls from people who have ideas about products they would like to sell using direct response TV advertising. Please understand that it's a lot harder to make money selling a $19.95 product with a direct response TV ad than it is selling a necessary service that can bring in thousands of dollars from one new client.
For one thing, local "Call Now!" ads for products (as distinct from services) usually don't work -- they require regional or national play. Want to sell a product via direct response TV? First, you need a great product already in existence. You need to be able to sell it for 6X or more what it cost you. And you need thousands of dollars you can afford to lose to make a commercial and test it. It's a very risky gamble.
If you email me a question about your business, please include this important information.
I'll tell you honestly what I think and you can take that for whatever it is worth to you. After you read my response, please send me at least a short reply with your reaction to it. I want your feedback to what I had to say.