Meredith’s MNI Using TV Spots to Sell Targeted Ads

MNI showcases a tire store owner who advertised and get a handsome return on investment (Image credit: Meredith)

In the COVID-19 infected economy, every little bit helps for small business, and Meredith Corp. and its MNI Targeted Media division have launched an ad campaign pitching that a small investment in targeted advertising can yield pretty big results.

The ad campaign uses the theme “I Believe.” Spots show a tire dealer who generated $12,000 in profit within a month of running a campaign with MNI. 

The spots are targeted market by market where Meredith owns stations: “Some good news, St. Louis. A local tire shop owner tried something new: targeted mobile ads. He made $12,000 in the first week. It’s easier than you think. Meredith St. Louis and MNI can help you too.”

In addition to St. Louis, the spots have started running in Atlanta and Las Vegas. In the next two weeks, they’ll run in all 12 markets where Meredith owns stations.

Running commercials to persuade small businesses to advertise is a bit unusual. Using TV ads to sell targeted digital ads is even more unique.

According to Vicki Brakl, senior VP of marketing, training and development at MNI, MNI think of itself as a small business within Meredith. “I don’t have a big budget, so one has to be really nimble and think about what we have at our disposal.”

What Meredith has are TV stations and MNI decided to work with them at a time when viewing is up as people shelter at home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus but ad demand is soft ahead of the elections, Brakl said. 

The virus has made business tough for small businesses. Most of those that are open are looking to conserve dollars, which in some cases means advertising less, or not at all.

“I’ve worked with small businesses so I understand that. But it’s amazing what you can do with very targeted advertising for not a ton of money and get some great returns if you do it the right way,’ she said.

Brakl said MNI came up with the ad in-house. “We produced it in-house. We’re kind of walking the walk and talking the talk just like a small business ourselves where we’re appealing to small business owners in those communities,” she said.

Meredith's MNI is selling targeted ads in new spots.

Meredith's MNI is selling targeted ads in new spots. (Image credit: Meredith)

The ad was based on a real case study of a real Meredith ad client who owns a couple of tire repair stores in a southeastern market. With a small investment, an ad campaign generated $12,000 in profit in just a week.

“Sometimes smaller businesses are intimidated and think they need to be a big player and have a big agency to run a spot or create an ad and that’s just not true,” Brakl said. “You can still advertise and not spend a ton of money,” she said, adding that MNI has people on the ground in each of Meredith’s 12 TV markets to help small business owners plan campaigns.

“We will walk you through that and create a relationship that will make you feel comfortable all the way through,” she said.

MNI usually runs ads in social media and online. Using TV is a new wrinkle.

“We really believe in the power of local media and we really believe in the small business owner and we want to be able to support them with targeted advertising. It can be done right. You just have to have the conversation,” Brakl said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.