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Radio and TV ads can be effective in selling consumer-oriented products. Weight-loss products, auto safety devices, tapes, videos, cooking sets, fishing gear, and a host of other products are sold either through thirty-second to two-minute ads or half-hour-long infomercials.

Magazine advertising can be used to sell industrial supplies and equipment, services, and consumer products. There is no doubt that all these tactics work.


Many products are sold directly to consumers through TV ads. Food processors, real estate, cosmetic formulas, exercise equipment, and drugs are just a few of the products sold on TV. Some of these products are sold through one – and two -minute commercials and others are sold through thirty-minute infomercials.

TV lets marketers use a tactic they can’t use anywhere else: a demonstration. Showing how a product works and what it does is an effective way to motivate people to buy. TV ads also have an instant element to them. People see the ad, then call up and order. They can’t wait, or the ad will be gone. Magazines don’t have that “right now”  quality. People can put the magazine on the table and “order later.”

TV advertising does have drawbacks. One is that people are sceptical of a product they can’t touch and feel. People have talked about the worst TV product they ever bought. That’s bad publicity. Another drawback is the cost of TV advertising. You have to be prepared to spend a lot of money for a good ad and much more for an infomercial.

What Type of Products

Products that can make money with TV ads should have a built-in demand, be unique, be hard to buy elsewhere, and demonstrate well.

Built-in demand

Products for losing weight have a lot of built-in demand. Diet drink formulas, exercise machines, and fitness videos can be sold on TV because of this demand. Time-life books, music video, kitchen products, and entrepreneur courses are other products in which most people have an interest.

Some products are sold on TV shows directed at the target audience. Gardening, fishing, and home repair show all have sponsors that promote and sell related equipment.


One of TV’s advantage is that people have to purchase right now. The advantage does not count unless the product is available only on TV. If people can buy the product in a store, they will procrastinate, and you will lose a percentage of your sales.


A product that demonstrates well can take advantage of the TV medium. Examples are food processors, exercise videos, and fishing tackle.

Key Components of a TV Ad

Run one- or two-minute ads. You need to ask people to order three or four times, and your ad needs to be long enough to do this.

Have an action-oriented ad. Have people moving around, doing something with your product.

Demonstrate the product – not only what it does, but what the result is.

Use testimonials. Have current users give short quotes praising the product.

Repeat your telephone number throughout the ad. Also, superimpose the number on the screen.

Have a strong opening. Base the lead-in on what your product accomplishes. For example, ads for exercise videos start with a picture of trim, athletic-looking men and women.

Buying TV time

You can buy ads directly from TV stations, but you will end up paying more than you have to. TV time can be purchased through companies that help you get the best buy. You can find help through the Yellow Pages under the categories: Media Buyers, Television Representatives, or Television Show Products.

If you just want to test an ad, you can call up a local cable company and work out a deal. Cable companies will typically go out of their way to help out a new advertiser. You might even be able to pay on per inquiry basis rather than paying a flat rate.


The big advantage of a magazine ad is that you can aim precisely at your target customer. You can advertise in a consumer or trade magazine where most of the readers are potential buyers of your product. Another advantage is the staying power of magazines. People may cut an ad out and order the product months after the ad first appeared.

The disadvantages of magazine ads is that they don’t have urgency, they don’t have the persuasive power of radio or TV ads, and they can be quite expensive.

Where to Advertise

To find magazines you can advertise in, go to the library and search for magazines that would appeal to your target audience. Start with a smaller magazine or buy space on a small regional basis (for example, TV Guide will let you buy a space limited to a metropolitan area) until you can be sure the ad will sell your product.

What kind of Products

Radio and TV ads work best for products with broad appeal. Magazine ads work best for products that solve specific problems. A magazine ad doesn’t persuade people to buy, so the product has to do that on its own.

Key Components of a Magazine Ad.

Don’t be too cute. Sell your products in clear terms. Your headline and visual should make it clear what the product is. People have to recognize the problem your product will solve before they will buy it.

List your phone number to call. It adds an urgency that will increase sales.

List testimonials and other proof statements.

Try quarter- to half-page ads, as they often draw as many responses as a full-page ad.

Show the problems you are solving rather than the product’s features. Statements that start with “eliminates” are often effective.

Saving Money

Magazine ads can be expensive, but, as with most ad costs, you can usually negotiate a lower price. You can save money if you buy left-over (also called remnant) space. If a magazine costs too much and won’t give you a discount, ask the advertising representative to call if he or she can ever offer you remnant space.