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Get Big Results From Small Ad Budget

by Alf Nucifora

One of the riskiest undertakings for small businesses is the development of advertising materials and campaigns that are both cost affordable and effective. Mega-marketers can employ the services of large ad agencies with their coterie of highly-paid, experienced experts. That's one of the benefits of a having a multi-million dollar ad budget. For the small business spending thousands instead of millions, the task is fraught with peril. Yet local and regional advertisers spend more than $19 billion a year in advertising development and media placement.

Introducing Admine.com

Enter Admine.com, a web-based advertising alternative for local and regional advertisers who want access to proven and original advertising. Formally launched in June 2000, the Virginia-based company allows small business advertisers to peruse an on line showroom of original newspaper, magazine, outdoor, radio, and television advertising. If they find something they like, they can license the rights to the advertising for their own local marketplace, have it customized by Admine ad staff, and run it for an agreed-upon amount of time and geographical coverage at a fraction of the time and cost that it would take to develop a campaign from scratch. Says Wayne Miller, Admine's President and Chief Operating Officer, "If a clever commercial worked for a bank in, let's say, Albuquerque, there's no reason it couldn't perform equally well in other markets."

The concept is nothing more than ad syndication. It's been tried before on a somewhat limited basis in the banking and auto dealer industries. Admine plans to move the concept from the minor leagues to the pros. Already more than 150 agencies nationwide (including the well known Martin Agency and Richards Group) have submitted approximately 2,500 ads for licensing with 50-100 being added each month; 80 percent are for print and outdoor, 20 percent for broadcast. Plans call for video streaming of television commercials in the not-to-distant future. Ads have a shelf life of 3-5 years before they are consigned to the scrap heap.

For an ad to be selected for inclusion in the Admine archives, the work must be submitted through the company's Creative Review Board which is comprised of six well-known experts from the advertising and communication fields. The advertising always remains the property of the agency that developed and submitted it. Admine secures the licensing rights for subsequent reuse. According to an Admine spokesperson, acquisition/licensing cost of the advertising (to the advertiser) is based on the number and size of markets in which it will run as well as the length of time it will run. Advertisers have exclusive right to the material for the markets in which it runs.

On the average, it costs a third to a half as much to buy an effective campaign from Admine as it does to produce something original. For example, a local newspaper campaign incorporating three ads that will run in one local market for less than a year could be acquired for less than $3,000. Qualified non-profit organizations are also able to benefit from access to Admine's public service campaigns nearly free of charge.

Admine has the backing of a number of strategic partners, including the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Bankers Association and the American Hospital Association. This dovetails with the company's current strategy of concentrating on vertical marketplaces where their syndicated approach will receive the greatest acceptance, namely the healthcare, banking and retail sectors.

All the Benefits, None of the Hassle

For the average small business advertiser using a service like Admine, advertising risk and accountability are mitigated because the ad campaign was used before (as is the case with the majority of the inventory). And, there's an enormous reduction in development time. Simply peruse the site (www.admine.com), select the ad campaign you like by industry and format, negotiate the price on-line or by phone and have it customized by Admine staff (or do it yourself). With this procedure, an ad development process that could take months is now reduced to days. Says Miller, "We're cheaper, faster and more effective."

The syndication and reuse of previously-proven advertising is an idea whose time has definitely come. There is so much good work being developed today that survives for a short period of time or receives limited exposure in only a handful of markets. For start-up businesses that can't afford ad agencies, for smaller, established businesses that don't have their own agencies and for larger companies that are happy with their agencies but want to test market concepts and ideas before developing a national campaign, Admine is the answer to their prayers.

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