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As Seen on TV

The time may be right for direct response TV ads, but are they right for you?

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This story appears in the February 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Even before Ron Popeil's Pocket Fisherman and the Thighmaster captured the imaginations (and wallets) of American TV viewers and earned their makers small fortunes in the process, television was king when it came to direct response product advertising. In fact, more than half of all consumers say they're most likely to learn about products or brands they'd like to buy from TV commercials, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB).

If you're considering marketing your product on television, now may be a great time. "Because of the economic environment, a lot of the stations have some downtime in their production facilities, and they may be willing to cut deals to get new advertisers on the air," says Gary Belis at TVB. That message is underscored by Diane Downey, vice president of sales for WUSA, a Gannett-owned CBS affiliate in Washington, DC, who says her station may go so far as to help write scripts and bring in a production company to produce spots clients couldn't normally afford.

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