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Let's Make Co-op Advertising A Reality - Here's the details.

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Paul Cascio, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Nancy

    Q. I am in a small village/town with one other frame shop (two others have gone out of business in the last year) and an ACMoore, M's and a JoAnns about 20 miles away. The next nearest independent is 8 miles away......what if I am the only one who wants to participate.....?? Am I out? Or if I don't, Are we all in, or all out??

    A. To be honest Nancy, you may be one of the few who would probably not benefit from this program. The AOSFs are far enough away, to not be much of a factor, and no matter what you do, people are unlike to drive 20 miles to get to you.

    Glad to hear you're doing okay, of course my goal is to everyone do better than just "okay."

    I hope to see you at the next APFA reunion.

  2. nancyg

    nancyg CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    that's what I thought

    great :faintthud:
  3. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    But Paul, we're not talking about the people who live 20 miles away in the AOSF's backyard, necessarily. How does Nancy keep the people in her backyard from driving the 20 miles to get to the AOSF's because of their presumption?
  4. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have found that people in small towns "go in to the city" at least a couple times a month. So I do think it is a bad idea to try to keep them at home. I would think the test would be, do these customers get the Big Box flyers?
  5. nancyg

    nancyg CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    We get ALL the flyers

    They definately do! One of the village's biggest struggles is getting people to shop locally. We have a very strong down-town....but the area malls are a big draw.

  6. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    We only have a Wal-Mart in town. there are no BB even in Bangor that I know of. There used to be a Ben Franklins but they closed down almost 5 years ago. The Jo- Anns Fabrics up there doesn't do framing.

    So.. no BB up here to worry about....yet. It'll be quite a while before they come into our area. This area is growing fast but not that fast.

    Of course, if the ads are on TV then everyone will be seeing them where ever they are. The same shows are on the TV up in Bangor as down here.

    I'm considering starting TV ads for my store but the people at Time Warner Cable don't seem too excited to do business. I can't get them to call back.:confused:
  7. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Framar, the adds won't be on national TV, only on local (cable) TV when, local framers decide to get together and promote themselves.
  8. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I know that this has at the very least been mentioned but just a thought...COBRANDING (the concept of getting more than one company to pay for advertising) could be helpful in funding this project, at least initialy. I would think that a company providing a specific product that could be used in promoting independant framers might be willing to chip in dollars to promote the industry that buys their product "Museum Glass, the best quality glass available, only available at your local independant framer" etc. etc. obviously the MG might be a conflict for TV but you get my point. It seems these days there is more cobranded advertising than straight advertising. When's the last time you saw a movie ad that didn't also advertise a mobile phone or Pepsi or some such product?
  9. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Let me think about this one. I'll see what I can come up with and come back to this in a day or so.
  10. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Brian, my initial thought on this is that we'll run a risk of confusing the consumer, because this would put three entities in the same ad. It's possible it could work, but the risk seems high. Possibly overlaying a "Supported by" logo bug in the lower corner could be considered as a test down the road.

    Also, while my eventual plan is to ask suppliers to participate (As an example, 4% of purchases from participating framers), that a whole other sell, and not necessarily an easy one. Historically, suppliers haven't been willing to shoulder the burden, which is why we're doing this and not them. I'm hoping to change that too eventually, when the group is bigger and wields more clout as a buyer.

    The beauty of the RCF co-op concept is where it could eventually lead. The possibilites are nearly endless, but overcoming interia is the initial challenge that we must overcome.
  11. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    My understanding from your posts in other threads is that i would not be able to join snce I am a franchise but I still will throw out a couple things here. Please understand, I am not trying to shoot holes in the program, I just think that I am not clear on my understanding.

    1. Cost for a shop is 50 a month, what does that exactly get? Is it use of the commercials or does that actually buy the time on the local cable network?

    2. What cable networks are you looking at advertising on? Are there specific programs or are you buying the network in broad time slots, ie 9am-9pm?

    3. If the $50 a month is suposed to pay for the air time as well, how many commercials are we to expect per week? I know that the answer will depend on where you are advertising, city/network/cable provider.

    4. If the 50 a month does pay for air time, if a market has 5 shops participating then there will be 250/month less the 15% agency commission, $212.50 to be used for buying ads. Quite honestly that isn't going to buy much of a successful advertising campaign.

    I may not be understanding this correctly but it does not seem like there is enough money being paid in to do what you are proposing, at least enough for it to really make a difference.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, I am all for cable advertising, I use it almost every day of the year. I just do not see how you can make much money and your clients can get an effective cable advertising campaign with the amounts of money that I think I understand would be coming in.

    Thanks for your response.
  12. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Tim, first let me say thanks for writing and sharing your ideas and questions. I realize I'm not very popular with franchisees of late, but I have to exclude them from the program for a number of reasons.

    Primarily, because I feel that indies need their own unique identity. Also, because chains and franshises could create a problem when we get to the point where we might possibly list shop names, the list might be dominated by FFs or GFUs making our ads seem like your ads. However, we are all allies when it comes to fighting possible deceptive and unfair advertising and anti-competitive trade tactics.

    Now to answer your questions, which I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing.

    Q. Wht does the $50/month fee provide.

    A. The $50/month fee is for what is known in advertising as "Creative." It does not pay for airtime. This monthly fee pays for the creation and rights to uss the commercials. Depsite television's power, commercials have a relatively short lifespan before people tune them out or change channels. Although good ones can be recycled in the future, a new supply is needed on a fairly regular basis.

    It's the cost and creative skills needed for producing commercials that prevents individual framers from using television as much as they would like.

    If this takes off, and I'm confident it will, this fee is how my company will partially derrive its income. For now, and until it reaches a certain point however I am losing money. BTW, in your example you deducted the 15% Agency Commission from the total ad investment. That is incorrect as I will explain below.

    Also, I am providing the first 4 commercials, to be used for the first 120 days, at no charge to the initial groups of advertisers. The $50/mo fee begins after the first 4 months.

    Airtime is purchased with the $100/wk member contribution. The number of participants determines the total amount available to buy commercials.

    Q. The "Buys" would depend on a number of factors, including total dollars available, location, availability, etc. It's no secret that our customers tend to be primarily women and upscale households, so obviously that who our target audience would be. CPM, Cost Per Thousand Impressions is also a factor.

    A. I want to get the most bang for the buck for every group. The more groups there are, the greater my buying power will become, but even in a single group I'll have more negotiating leverage than will an individual business.

    Q. What is an Agency Commission. Tim, you didn't specifically ask this question, but you did refer to it so I want to clarify.

    A. My company will receive it money by receiving what is known as an Agency Commission. This is a post-negotiated discount on the Ad Buy and it's how my company and I get paid. This 15% does not come off of the total ad dollars - $250 get $250 worth of advertising.

    Here's a hypothetical example, I negotiate with Comcast for 100 commericals at a total price of let's say $1000. Comcast then get paid $850 and I keep $150 as my Agency Commission.

    For early adopters, I will donate back the commission for first 120 days to buy additional airtime.

    I'm sure everyone realizes that I am taking a huge financial risk and have and will expend lots of time and dollars in getting RCF rolling. Only when it's successful on a large scale, will I be successful too.

    Q. It does not seem like there is enough money being paid in to do what you are proposing, at least enough for it to really make a difference.

    A. Results won't occur overnight. They will take time as well as dollars, hence the 120-day initial committment. Obviously, the more money we have to buy commercials the faster the results, but I need to also keep this affordable.

    No frameshop owner will have program cost as an excuse, especially when he/she is getting at least five times the advertising for every dollar invested.
  13. Sherry Gray

    Sherry Gray CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    As I read all the posts, I continually thought of the incredible amount of time involved in getting this far. Thank you so much. I'm definitely interested but not sure there are enough indies in my area. Have radio spots been considered?
  14. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thank you Sherry

    It's been nice of you to recognize the time, thought and energy that's been required. On the other hand, I really feel energized snd enthused by the opportunity and challenge RCF preseents. I can't wait to see it succeed.

    Thanks again,

  15. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Paul, thanks for your reply, don't worry about us franchise owners, some don't like me either, you can't please everyone.

    When I used my agency commission example i was looking at it from the perspective of how i buy my advertising. I am my own agency, for every 1K of advertising I buy, I only pay 850. In this program you are the agency, separate from the client, so 1K of advertising gets 1K of time. Thanks for clearing this up.

    As for the 50 a month going to the use of commercials, I think that is a fair price, maybe a little too fair depending on how many commercials you plan on producing a year. If anyone knows how much it costs and the amount of time it takes to produce a commercial, you know that $600 (a years fees) will not get you 2 commercials produced on your own.

    The 100 a week seems fair as well, you will need at least 4 or 5 shops in an area to begin to have a decent campaign. 2K a month would be what I would say is a minimum budget in order for this program to make an impact in a market with a population of 250K. Smaller market could use fewer but the key to any type of advertising is frequency and consistancy and you know that you need money to do that.

    Many know that I am a big fan of TV advertising, it is not cheap but it is worth it in my opinion. On the other hand I am not a big fan of co-op advertising, too many potential problems, that I will not discuss here, in my opinion.

    Seems to be a good deal for a shop who want to use TV marketing, I would guess that 90+% of the people here would not be able to do something like this on their own, it takes a lot of time and money which most frame shops do not have.

    I will be interested in how this works for people. Good Luck.
  16. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I too appreciate all the time and effort put in by you, Paul.

    Just a thought ...have you considered PBS television. Sponsoring public television could be an interesting route. The audience for PBS stations coincides with what I believe to be our target audience ...usually more affluent and art oriented.

    There could be an opportunity to partner with PBS and possibly a major supplier, such as LJ, to produce an educational show about preservation framing.

    Just a thought ...

    Dave Makielski
  17. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Dave, I was just approached about doing a PBS sponsorship and I was surprised how much more expensive it was to do a 15 second lead in and out (basically saying this program was brought to you in part by....) than regular cable advertising. On top of that in my area the specific Art shows were already being done by "American Picture Frame"

    Paul, will be waiting to here more of the specifics and how I can if needed take the lead in getting this going in my area!
  18. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Let's not forget though that the results of advertising are what is important and should be the factor considered in what type of advertising is most effective.

    In my past life I did quite a bit of television advertising ...first on cable and then on regular affiliates. The cable advertising was far less expensive and far less effective producing barely a blip on the screen. Even though advertising on the local affiliates during prime time was expensive the resultant business provided far more bang for the buck in my market.

    Cable can look seductively attractive because it is cheap. But I found it to be not the best medium with little results if any ...it was hard to see any real effect.

    I never looked back and stopped all cable advertising but continued advertising on the affiliates with great success.

    Our local PBS appears to have more of a regular advertising format than the "funding provided by ..." formerly only available. Rules must have been changed.

    PBS hungers for informative well produced shows and I still think there are possibilities there.

    Dave Makielski
  19. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Dave, you are absolutely right, price isn't ever thing. We as custom framers certainly know that. Sometimes when posting, I just forget and assume everyone is on the same wavelength. You're not going to reach the same #viewers with a $6 - 8 cable spot as you might with a network spot. Key is frequency and target. Shotgun / rifle. In my particular market, I didn't see the #'s to justify the higher expense of PBS.

    Don't want to hi-jack Paul's post here though! Maybe a new thread, although we all discussed it before.
  20. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Another question for Paul.....

    Im probably in the same boat as NancyG without any other framers (besides M's) to co-op with. Is it possible to buy in and put our tag line on the end if we are purchasing all the cable spots? We're 100 miles from nowhere.

    Just curious...it would be a way of supporting the 'cause' while having a fresh supply of ads.
  21. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sorry I sidetracked a little ...

    So, Paul ...what's the next step?

    Dave Makielski
  22. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Dave,

    Our territories will be defined by sub-areas of cable television systems. If we did want to do PBS sponshorship, we couldn't even consider it until we had a group that was as large as the local PBS affiliate's reach. There are no Avails (available advertising spots), for PBS on cable.
  23. HB

    HB SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    First of all - thanks to Paul for at the very minimum - doing this research for us.

    I see benefits for some - but I question whether or not it will work in every market, especially in Canada.

    I've done TV ads (& am currently running a few (any one can email me & I'll send you a copy of my ads if you wish to see them). Its costing me much more than the $6 I here floating around for a 30 sec ad, its between $30 - $150 each time it airs. But I am running them on a tv station that is not cable & covers about a population of 120,000 people.

    I have a problem with running an ad on a local cable channel - no one watches it. In our area, though we can have over 100 cable channels, what is aired on the channels as far as programming & ads, goes right across the network. I can't put anything on a Sports only channel, for instance. Is it different by you. Maybe its a Canadian thing.

    DOES ANY OTHER CANADIAN have the ability to air a commercial , say on TSN or HGTV or so???
  24. HB

    HB SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'd like this answered too!
  25. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    In the states it is standard to pick what channels you are on.

    I ran my commercial on HGTV, Travel and Lifetime (I think).

    My commercial was not cheap but if you can get the benefit of using the RCF commercials and only pay to run them, you will be WAY ahead of the game.

  26. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I will keep this quick since this is Pauls thread as well.


    I can not say for sure since it is not my market but, $6 cable spots are not really reaching many viewers, those spots are not the best quality spots. Your rates that you quoted are much more in the reality when paying for quality spots on cable and local network programing, ie not primetime NBC.

    Quite frankly, depending on what the commercials look like (content and message)and where the commercials are going to air (networks and specific shows) it is pretty much a no brainer if you are comfortable with co-op advertising.

    Paul seems to have come up with a good program that should be affordable to many framers. The success of the program will depend on the framers that participate and it will mean more than the framer paying their dues and waiting for things to happen. You will have to give feedback to Paul on how it is working in your market so he can adjust to help you and your fellow framers in your market. If you are looking for a program that will let you pay your money and sit by and wait for the customers to walk in the door then this is not for you. If you are the only one in your area and think that you will not be able to get any other framers to join in, then this sounds to me like a program that is not for you. I could be wrong, if so please correct me Paul but, I don't think that Paul put all of his hard work, time and money to make exceptions to his plan before it actually starts.
  27. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    RE: if you think you can't get other framers to join in,maybe this isn't the program for you.

    I think the program sounds great but getting other framers to join in can be a matter of geography.

    We now advertise on cable TV - with success. We are presently advertising on CNN, TLC, Travel Channel, Bravo, the Food Channel, FX and LOGO. Some of our spots run as low as $2 each and most are very well placed. Compare this to $42 for an ad on the radio.(We do that too). Here in rural PA, on cable, you pick the area that you want to advertise in. We chose Chambersburg and vicinity. In the C'burg area, there is Michael's and there is little ol' me and a basement framer or two. So getting other framers to join in probably isn't too likely. We're soon going to expand to the Carlisle area - where there is another Michael's and two other framers. If I can get those framers to join in, great! But they're not grumblers, they're not PPFA members, they're really not even players so I'm thinking I already know the answer before I ask it. No I'm not being a defeatist - I'm being realistic and am just trying to figure out how I can get the program to work for me.

    Looking forward to finding out more details!!
  28. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Interesting question Maryann. I would imagine we can find some way to make this available to single point markets after the program is off and running.
  29. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The Next Step

    Well, the next, and biggest, step is for those who want to participate to begin recruiting in their area. This is going to be the toughest part of getting RCF rolling. This is really the key - overcoming intertia. Before Real Custom Framing can sell us, we must first sell it to our fellow framers.

    Anticipating this, I had Sunday's presentation in Sarasota videotaped and am feverishly working (between posts) to edit it down to a about a 60-70 minute production, which I will make available on DVD for about $3.00 each. I'm probably nuts, but I hope to have it ready by Monday.

    This DVD will make your recruiting task easier. Simply ask them to watch the DVD and then they will be able to make an informed decision. Lots of subliminal messages too. Just kidding. :)

    The website for indie framers, www.realcustomframer.org, also needs to be setup. I can get a basic one done within a week (Still looking for graphic design talent if anyone would like to contribute some skills.) Eventually, the consumer site also needs to be completed, but that comes later.

    The info I've been posting here, will be copied to the realcustomframer.org for prospective participants to read.

    I'm also working on press releases for the trade press, but may have missed the deadline for the May issues.
  30. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    I may be in the same boat as Maryann and NancyG. The only other indie in my area has "crossed over" to the deceptive 50% advertising, all others are franchised or M's. I would have to co-op with Reno indies, 40 miles from here, in a different advertising area.

    Anxious to hear how this can work out for those of us in this boat!

    Row, girls, row!!!
  31. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I have been thinking about this also.

    I am not sure how many (if any) other shops I can rangle in with me.

    I am leaning towards doing it anyway just for the use of the commercials alone.

    We shot a commercial at my shop a while back and it was over 1000.00. If I can get use of RCF commercials and be the framer the website points to in my area then it is still better than trying to do this alone.

    I am looking in my county to see who else might be interested and have a few calls out to reps to see if they may point me towards any other shops I might have missed.

    My .02

  32. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Gettting Reps to help

    Great idea getting vendor reps to help. If your income increases, their's will too. Also, anything that I can do to help you put a group together, just let me know.
  33. Mecianne

    Mecianne SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Is there somewhere we can go to view the prototype ads?
  34. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    As I mentioned previously, I hired two videographers to tape my Sarasota presentation last Sunday.

    I've been busy editing the tapes between posts and am happy to report that the editing process which, if your've never done it is, according to Michael Jones, is like counting the blades of grass on a football field. Talk about tedious.

    I'm happy to report however, that it's coming along better than expected and I am on course to finish it this weekend. I'll have a couple hundred DVDs made and will make them available, for a limited time only at the AOSF SPECIAL PRICE OF:

    Buy 1, Get 50% Off
    Buy 2, Get 60% Off
    Buy 3, Get 70% Off

    Conservatively speaking, I think it's gonna be a masterpiece.

    Seriously, if you, and other indie shop owners near you, have even the slightest interest in the Real Custom Framing Co-op Advertising Program, this DVD will give you all the details. It also includes the two prototype commercials.

    I'll give 100 away for free to qualified Grumblers as payback for putting up with (sort of) my slight miscalculation of how far in advance to begin a PR campaign.

    For business reasons, please understand that distribution will be restricted. Details to be released when the DVD is ready.

    Thanks for your interest and support.
  35. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Val, once the DVD about the program is available - editing should be completed today, I can send you some copies that you can pass on to the indies in your area.

    I will setup a signup area on realcustomframer.org for those who would like a copy.
  36. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thanks Paul, that would be appreciated.
  37. Julia

    Julia CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2


    For those who have had success advertising on cable, how do you measure that success? How many custom framing projects have resulted from the ads you have run on cable? I fully realize that each market will be different, so if you respond, would you mind adding a few stats about your marketplace?
  38. Daughn

    Daughn Grumbler

    I checked out the site today and ordered the DVD. Looks great so far Paul!
  39. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    I signed up this morning.

    The site still had that 'new website' smell.

    Thanks Paul!
  40. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Glad to see website is working even in only early form. Signed up for DVD and will do all I can to spread the word to other independents in my area. Hope I can get them on board. When do you expect to have finished commercials? Liked what I saw of the prototype.
  41. TessaE

    TessaE CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I signed up for the DVD as well today. Looking forward to getting it.
  42. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I signed up and will burn a few copies to pass on to others. (if that is alright Paul)

    Not only is this a great idea but it is also my initials RCF.

    For the first time in a while I feel like we can take back some of what was lost.

  43. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I encourage you, and others, to pass along copies to other indies that you are trying to co-op with.

    The key to success for the RCF program is to get the information to every prospective participant in your area so they can make an informed decision.
    Once they view the DVD, I'm confident the response will be as positive as it was in Sarasota.

    If I'm right, we can change the future and make it a lot brighter for the independent framing industry.
  44. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    I am also happy to look at change. I signed up for the DVD and am looking at new ways to educate the consumer. Thanks Paul.
  45. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Paul, I am looking forward to getting the DVD and am getting prepared to discuss it with other framers in the area.

    My NielsenBainbridge rep was just in and she very much liked the idea. She took a handful of my cards and was going to talk it up to other "Indies" and let them know I would be calling on them shortly.

    I was thinking, depending on the response of having an "after hours" get-together at my store, and showing everyone the DVD at that time. If I can set something up like that, would you be available for a tele-conference after the showing for Q&A?
  46. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Great Idea!

    Geez, like Hollywood premiere?

    JP, your conference call idea is awesome, and yes, absolutely I would do it.

    I recognize that propective participants will have questions. This is a great way to get them answered and expedite formation of a group. All are invited to make copies too, for distribution to other indies frameshops.

    In fact I am willing to do this for any group that would like to meet.

    I am also compiling an FAQ, which will get posted on the program site, www.realcustomframer.org

    Thanks again for your support and for leading the way in Toledo. (Go Mudhens).

  47. froptop

    froptop CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Not that I've analyzed the respondants to this thread - I have not - but it seems that there is a conspicuous absence of feedback from some of our very learned and seasoned framers/frequent posters....
  48. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    DVDs are in the mail

    If you requested a DVD from the realcustomframer.org website, they are on the way. Requests made today will mail tomorrow.

    Thanks and enjoy.

  49. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    WOW Paul

    You really have started this thing into motion!

    I'm looking forward to seeing the vid.
  50. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Once you see my mug on your TV, you may feel differently. :)
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