Local ABC-TV affiliate touts free advertising for nonprofits

Organizations must find sponsors to pay for commercials

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2004

The Gastineau Humane Society is hoping someone will adopt Little Bear after he makes his television debut.

The yellow Labrador retriever is featured in a locally produced ABC television commercial, "A Day in the Life of a Dog." It will start airing July 6 on KJUD's channel 8 in Juneau. It also will air in Fairbanks.

KJUD is offering a new program in which nonprofit organizations get a free 25-second television commercial if they can get a sponsor to pay for it. The sponsor gets a five-second tag line at the end of the spot.

"The advertisement itself is cute, because it shows cute kids and pets," said Chava Lee, executive director of the humane society. "Who can resist kids and pets?"

Janet Argevitch, an associate broker with Century 21 Totem Properties, sponsored the humane society's ad. An animal lover, Argevitch used to have a pet-sitting business in San Francisco and owns a 15-year-old cat, Sophie Marie. She's also featured animals in her own newspaper ads.

"It's certainly a good form of advertising for me and I believe very strongly in what they're doing," Argevitch said.

The commercial opens with the camera panning at a dog's-eye view of downtown. It then moves to the humane society, where veterinary technician Becky Hinman-Frank gives Little Bear a bath and physical exam.

"It's going to be from the dog's perspective, which I think is pretty neat," Hinman-Frank said.

All spots run for eight weeks, and ABC pays for half of them, ABC Sales Manager Palmer Meehan said. ABC also produces the commercials at no charge, he said. Further, it commits to placing half of the spots during prime-time viewing hours from 3 p.m. to midnight. Besides Juneau, the spots will air on ABC affiliate KATN in Fairbanks, reaching a total of 195,000 viewers.

ABC is offering the program to rebuild its image after a three-year departure from the local public eye, Meehan said.

"From a purely business point of view, it's been a long time since ABC has been active in the Juneau market," he said. "We feel like it's the right thing to do."

The bulk of companies who do community projects are nonprofits that need to raise money, Meehan said. They can rarely afford expensive television advertising.

"I think it's a great program, and the nonprofits need the exposure," Meehan said.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at tara.sidor@juneauempire.com.

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