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Flynn Dekker, VP of marketing at  Dallas-based Steak and Ale, needed a new ad campaign. He wanted TV and its broad reach, but didn’t think he could afford it. Then he discovered Spot Runner. Web-based Spot Runner (www.spotrunner.com), launched in January, allows users to build their own ads based on TV commercial templates and to choose where and when the ads will run—all at a fraction of the cost of using an ad agency.

Flynn Dekker, VP of marketing at  Dallas-based Steak and Ale, needed a new ad campaign. He wanted TV and its broad reach, but didn’t think he could afford it. Then he discovered Spot Runner.

Web-based Spot Runner (www.spotrunner.com), launched in January, allows users to build their own ads based on TV commercial templates and to choose where and when the ads will run—all at a fraction of the cost of using an ad agency.

Spot Runner’s restaurant category has about 50 different 30-second ad templates broken down by cuisine. Choose an ad—those for seafood restaurants, for example, feature closeups of fish dishes—and Spot Runner will personalize it with a voiceover (you provide the copy) and your restaurant’s logo. Users can insert more images at no extra charge. A 30-second Spot Runner commercial starts at $499 (compared to $10,000 and up for agency-produced spots) and takes about two weeks to produce. A more detailed customization package is available for an additional $249.

“We are leveling the playing field,” says Rosabel Tao, VP of communications at the Los Angeles-based company. “If you can buy an airline ticket online, you can use Spot Runner.”

Dekker used an ad agency to create a TV spot for Steak and Ale, then used Spot Runner to buy media.  “Spot Runner allowed us to get back on TV for the first time in 10 years,” Dekker says. “It’s the most effective form of advertising we’ve found.”

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