Are You Ready for Prime Time?

All hail the Flowbee, billed as the "revolutionary home hair-cutting system," which you've probably seen in an infomercial on late night TV.

But now, advertisements for inventions like the Flowbee could be headed for prime time, thanks to recent dramatically reduced TV ad rates.

The lower ad rates could be an opportunity for small firms and entrepreneurs who have long wished to include a TV spot as part of their marketing plans, but couldn't because of the cost.

National Public Radio last week aired an interview with the top executive at TeleBrands, a direct response firm that's been in the business of infomercials for 25 years. President and CEO A.J. Khubani said car firms, which typically represent 40 percent of all TV advertising, have slashed their budgets in half, which is dramatically pushing up the amount of unsold airtime.

He said, he's now able to buy prime-time slots, which he called "beach front property at trailer park prices." Khubani said part of his firm's success is that it helps advertise products geared toward saving people money. People are still buying -- just differently. As Khubani noted, lipstick sales traditionally go up in a down economy because they're "inexpensive mood enhancers."

By Sharon McLoone |  January 12, 2009; 2:20 PM ET Tools and Tips
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