Guerilla Marketing Hint

I am in the midst of starting an ice cream business with great aspirations of adding pizza to the mix in a very short period of time…like 6 months. Marketing is a HUGE factor in the success of a business either in startup or in the long run and we seemed to have hit a big one on our business lately that I want to share with you all…

I worked with a guy that was a marketing master and he had a unique and slightly off the wall approach to keep his franchise business ahead of the local pack in his service areas. Hear this… BUY A TALKING HOUSE!!! Yes…its a real estate tool. Its basically a tape player that plays a continuous loop tape with a message that you put on it. You can buy digital models too instead of the old tape setups but the key is that its a RADIO BROADCAST. Most are AM but FM ones are available too. They are Part 15 compliant (which means that you can broadcast without any kind of license, commercial or otherwise) and they have about a 1/4 mile range.

My friend put a simple yellow banner on the front of his store that said “TUNE TO 880AM” or whatever the frequency was that he chose from the available frequencies. Nothing else was on the banner. People driving by the strip mall that he was located in got curious and tuned to 880AM. What they got was a message that thanked them for tuning in and for taking the time to listen for 15 seconds they were offering a free side or $3 second pizza or whatever felt like the deal of the week. As soon as he put it into play they started getting people pulling in that would not have normally come in just to claim their " drive by special".

He sold a shipload of pizza from this and he randomly did “hot spot promos” with “IF YOUR LISTENING RIGHT NOW, PULL INTO xxxxxPIZZA PLACE AND GET YOUR ABSOLUTELY FREE PERSONAL PAN PIZZA…PROMO ENDS AT 5pm” (LIKE AN HOUR LONG SPECIAL). People would actually program their radios to hear what they were offering for the day or week so that they could check it out every time they drove by.

We utilized this same process to announce to the town that we were building a business. I used some freeware from the internet to build a classy sounding “radio ad” complete with 40’s era background music and told everyone to keep their eyes open for the new business. I bought 4 Coroplast signs, 18x24, from the local sign guy for virtually nothing with the message “Tune to 1600AM for hot news” and now the town is buzzing with anticipation of the new arrival. We are not even officially open yet but everyone knows that we are coming. Its just stinking COOL!!!

It may not be for you but you can do some pretty trick advertising for no radio ad budget just around your store. People talk…word travels…why throw money away at something that is not targeted? This gets it to people that see you every day.

Just a thought…Cheers and keep them happy…

Colley Reed
Sweet Spot Corp
Cherry’s Station

how much does something like this cost?/?where do u get it from???

Here is a link for that talking house.

has any1 done this kind of advo?does it really work?

It’s innovative and different and very could well work.

I like it, but unfortunately we cannot do it here as all radio broadcast are licensed. Shame.


I’m more of a print guy myself but it has definitely captured my interest. If anyone else has personal experience with this, good or bad, please chime in.

Thanks, -J_r0kk

Yes they are very effective. You can find them on Ebay pretty much every day. 6 of them close today as a matter of fact:-)

New they can range from $145-$300, used like on Ebay you can find them as low as $75. I have a loop tape model that is about 10 years old and I just dropped one of those cassettes into it that has the umbilical cord to plug into your cd player or Ipod. I hooked that to my laptop…could have been a cheapy MP3 player since I use freeware to build my ad.

The newer ones are digital and are point and click and completely self contained. If you have ever spent $200 on any kind of ad you could have bought a transmitter like a talking house and had it to use for ever.

Had not thought of the non-US guys and radio compliance:-) Sorry.