As part of our ongoing “Memory Lane” series commemorating ERA’s 25th anniversary, Nancy Marcum, founder and CEO of Marcum Media, reflects on her early days in DRTV.
My partner and I launched a two-hour infomercial campaign in the fall of 1984, right after the Reagan Administration lifted [restrictions on] the length of time for a commercial. We tested the infomercial on local cable networks and found the return to be profitable, but small-potatoes. The word ‘infomercial’ did not exist in those days, and national cable infomercial airtime did not exist.
However, The Nashville Network went black from 3:00 to 9:00 a.m., Monday through Sunday, and had coverage of 22 million homes. We needed that exposure. We asked them if we could purchase this airtime; they were stunned, but willing. We placed the test and discovered in less than a 24-hour period that we were going to make millions. Soon, we bought an entire eight-hour block on TNN. Our client became a millionaire, and my partner and I cashed in, as well.
The above post was adapted from the feature article, “Giving ’Em the Business: 25th Anniversary Edition,” by Michele Wojciechowski published in the July-August 2015 issue of ER magazine.