By: Tyler Hehn
Small businesses in Toronto say non-traditional advertising is more effective than traditional methods.
Traditional advertising methods include time slots for television or radio or ad space purchased in a newspaper or magazine.
Other examples of traditional ads are found in public places like billboards or subway stations.
For small businesses looking to stand out, being different is good. And more affordable.
According to Michael Rosen, Program Co-ordinator of the Bachelor of creative advertising degree, traditional style advertisements can run a company more than half a million dollars for a single national television spot.
Rosen says small businesses need to be creative with advertising to set themselves apart from competition.
Steam Whistle is a company that prides itself on its unique-ness. Tim McLaughlin, brand manager of Steam Whistle, said that with the competitive business atmosphere of the city, making a name for yourself is vital.
“I think we have really built the brand through non-traditional sponsorships and getting involved in the community at the grassroots level,” said McLaughlin. He says this gives their client base the chance to interact and sample their product.
Steam Whistle uses custom-painted cars as a valuable advertising tool.
“They have a great presence on the street and people remember them when they see them and people know you’re active in the market,” said McLaughlin.
Rosen cites three steps to successful advertising: gaining an audience, getting noticed, and being remembered.
“Everybody is vying for attention. You’re seeing 3,000 ads a day, what breaks through the clutter? What makes people stop and go, wow!” said Rosen.
Tom Mihalik chooses a more personal approach to his advertising. The owner of Tom’s Place, a Toronto retailer of men’s suits, calls in to radio morning shows to talk about his business like a guest host.
He says this form of communication helps keep customers up-to-date on whats new with his shop.
“The easiest way to get to our customers on a daily basis would be to communicate with them, and talk to them about our specials, talk about our store, talk about the new arrivals, talk about the merchandise,” said Mihalik, who has been doing his live ads for 20 years.
“Our store is based on deals, constantly deals, so that’s why I figured the best thing to do is go on the radio,” said Mihalik
Rosen says that for many small business in Toronto, non-traditional methods are the best bet.
“You take a small place like Tom’s Place, they’re small, they’re still prosperous with one location. They can’t afford a huge advertising budget so he probably gets a good price from that radio station and it’s one way [to do things],” said Rosen.