Smaller advertisers can’t afford to replicate the strategy of big advertisers. Instead, they have to be careful, sharper and more flexible.

Prime-time TV is popular with national brand advertisers because it enables them to get their message out to their whole market simultaneously: for when Mazda is launching a new car, for example, or Target is announcing a weekend sale.

Big brands compete for prime-time media based on it being available when they need it. Which tends to push the price up. But it can bite small and medium-size advertisers:

1.  Because of the limit to the supply of prime-time advertising, national brand advertisers will pay a premium of up to 600% over other programming to access the speed and reach of prime-time.
2.  Advertisers pay for every member of the household who’s watching TV. With prime-time TV that can be four or five people per household, instead of just one or two decision-makers.
3.  Prime-time programming is usually more interesting and the household is busy with meals and kids. So attention and response to Direct Response advertising is badly affected. A prime-time DRTV commercial may reach ten times the audience (at more than ten times the cost) but it will generate, on average, only twice the response of a non-prime-time spot.

So, if you don’t have a big marketing budget, don’t try to compete for prime-time with McDonald’s and KFC, Woolworths and Coles, or Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kia and Holden.

A better strategy is to find and buy your target market when it is available at the lowest possible cost. Which is in off-peak programming.

So even with a modest budget, you can afford to reach your market with enough frequency to turn desire into action and generate response. Here’s how we created a successful TV campaign with just $700!


Brand, retail and direct response commercials are vastly different to each other. And so are their media strategies.

With a brand or retail campaign, a narrower schedule with more frequency will return more sales than a campaign that tries to reach your total market with less frequency.

With Direct Response, the opposite is true. You don’t want frequency, you want reach: one spot per programme, preferably when only one person per household (the key influencer or decision maker) is watching.


Brand TV commercials work over the long term. And campaign effectiveness ends when you go off air. So you need a strategy that delivers spots over a longer period of time to create and maintain brand awareness.

To help maximise your brand awareness we can include shorter, cheaper, 15 second TV commercials in the schedule, and run video ads online, which increases reach and frequency without a major increase in cost.


Since shopping for groceries and other retail activities are part of the consumer’s weekly schedule, you get the most cost-effective response by targeting grocery buyers or your specific target market in off-peak programming on days adjacent to regular shopping days.

And just like in-store, discounts and special offers in the commercials work to increase traffic and sales.


Direct Response media strategies are the opposite of brand awareness and retail. You don’t need frequency, you need reach: more exposure to more potential customers. Here’s why:

A Direct Response commercial is a self-contained sales pitch. It doesn’t need repetition. One sales pitch per programme is enough.

The programme’s audience will see the DRTV commercial, watch the sales pitch, and either become a customer, or not. Repeating the sales pitch to the same group of people 15 minutes later will not increase sales.

If you repeat the commercial two or three times in the same programme, the response to the second and third spots will fall dramatically. And that media wastage will double or triple your cost-per sale.

Non-prime-time is the key to DRTV advertising. The cost-per-thousand is lower, programming isn’t too involving, you’re only paying for one or two viewers per household, and they’re less likely to be distracted by family, meals, kids, etc. So you get a lot more sales for your money.

Direct Response commercials need to press the right buttons sell the product, and then make an offer to generate the urge to jump online NOW, not later when the intent to buy will be forgotten.

And each commercial needs to sell enough to make you money and pay for the next spot.

Here’s the secret of creating great Direct Response TV Commercials


We negotiate media schedules that are typically discounted from 20% to 70% depending on the network and the time of the year.

We then negotiate as many free-of-charge bonus and sponsorship spots as possible. These can add anything from 10% to 150% more spots to your campaign, depending on the season, the region, and the network.

For brand and retail campaigns, bonus spots can add significantly to your campaign’s success. For direct response campaigns, bonus spots give you the opportunity to test additional programmes and time-zones at no addtional cost.


We monitor your campaign by tracking response and sales at your website with web analytics tools including cPanel, Awstats and Google Analytics. This enables us to analyse the effectiveness of each spot and optimise your campaign to deliver the best results.

We deliver pre- and post- time schedules from the networks so we can all be certain every spot runs.

We help you align your television advertising with your online marketing, to make sure that customers who respond by checking you out online before they buy (and up to 80% of them do) don’t end up on your competitors’ web sites.

And we deliver a summary of each campaign to give you a blueprint for future TV campaigns that tells you what works and what doesn’t for your product or service.


We recently planned and bought $1200 of TV advertising for a client, and received $1800 of bonus Run Of Station spots.

Run Of Station placement is decided by the networks and usually includes a mix of daytime, late night, midnight-to-dawn, and the occasional prime time spot.

We tracked the sales performance of every spot, paid and free, through the client’s website (cPanel, Awstats and Google Analytics).

Of the sales in that period, more than 80% came from the $1200 of paid spots and less than 20% came from the $1800 of free bonus spots.

The $1200 of paid spots delivered sales for around half the client’s allowable cost per sale. The $1800 of ROS bonus spots, had they been paid for, delivered sales averaging over six times the client’s allowable cost per sale.

The conclusion? If the client had paid for a ROS schedule, the campaign would have been a dismal failure, and he would have abandoned the goal of generating a new stream of revenue and profit from TV advertising.

Even free, the ROS spots, though outnumbering the planned and paid spots, only delivered a handful of sales and had little impact on the overall success of the campaign.

A ROS package may sound appealing, but it is basically a bundle of untargeted network ‘off-cuts’. ROS packages may help a brand campaign achieve frequency but they rarely work for retail or Direct Response because:

1.  they are untargeted

2.  they don’t conform to a rational retail or Direct Response TV media strategy, and

3.  they include programmes and time-zones where the cost per thousand of your target audience is too high to ever deliver a low enough cost per sale



TV Campaign Credit Counsellors Australasia “During the first week of TV, while testing in minor regional markets only, our web traffic increased 300%.” Cliff Mearns, CEO, Credit Counsellors Australasia


Tourism TV Advertising Campaign. A 12 week non-prime-time TV campaign increased domestic visitors by 22.1% and nights stayed by 28.4%, while competitor regions experienced significant downturns. Rita Fisher, President, Blue Mountains Tourism Limited


TV Campaign for Harper Collins “Their creative ideas matched our brief beautifully and the results were stunning. Our author experienced a threefold sales increase.” Jim Demitriou, Chief Operating Officer, Harper Collins


Video for fishing kayaks“Their TV campaign generates all the sales I need, month after month. And the TV cost per sale is actually lower than our cost per sale on eBay!” Peter Rose, General Manager, Kayaks2Fish


Lokomotion blends the creativity and communications skills of an ad agency with the expertise and technology of a production company. 

And we plan and buy hugely succesful media campaigns that deliver cost-effective leads and sales, while minimising your media investment. There’s an interesting example of our ultra-low-cost media approach right here.

We’re happy to help you understand your TV media options so you can make the right decisions for your business. Just use our contact form to send us a quick note.

Because we know production inside out, we keep production costs down. Because we’ve worked with the biggest brands in the world, we keep quality up. Because we write great scripts, your TV commercial will do the required job.

And because we measure the results of what we do, and have worked with hundreds of different kinds of businesses, we know what works and what doesn’t.

  • Aussie Bronze
    The video looks and sounds fabulous! Thanks again for all your hard work. Can't wait to share it ...
    Sacha Roberts,CEO, Aussie Bronze
  • Possibilities Management Group
    The TV commercial looks absolutely fantastic, couldn’t be happier. The Instructional video also looks fantastic. The voice was spot on. Thanks so much for all your effort.
    Jonathan Oastler,Managing Director, Possibilities Management Group
  • Community Colleges Australia
    Wow! I found the video to be inspiring, the stories just blending so well together and picking up so many key decision-making triggers. Well done to you and your team.
    David Hurley,Manager - Business Development, SG&S Community College
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    Steve Delnawaz,CEO, Stubby Strip Australia
  • Sterling Mining Co.

    Love, love, love the film! I passed copies out generously when I was in Toronto last week for broker meetings and at the Chicago conference the week before and I've been getting a lot of very favorable feedback.

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    We are delighted with the product and your service, and your co-ordination of the Chinese translation for us. We've had a tremendously positive response to the video in London, Beijing and Australia.

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    Billy and the team have an amazing way of exceeding my expectations. They really understand consumer, direct, industrial and B2B marketing. It’s what I need in an agency.

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    On the day Billy & Shaun's corporate film for Sterling Mining Co. was premiered at this year’s Silver Summit, the share price jumped from a previous base of $3.35 to over $4.20.

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  • Harper Collins

    Their creative ideas matched our brief beautifully and the results were stunning. Our author experienced a threefold sales increase and is now one of the top ten Australian fiction authors.

    Jim Demetriou,Chief Operating Officer, Harper Collins