Ricky McMountain tries out informercial

Ricky McMountain Enterprises of Toronto has taken the idea behind its successful magazine-style advertising vehicle, Ricky McMountain Buyer's Guide, to the tv screen as an infomercial.Richard Hirtle, Ricky McMountain founder, president and chief executive officer, regards his first venture into infomercials...

Ricky McMountain Enterprises of Toronto has taken the idea behind its successful magazine-style advertising vehicle, Ricky McMountain Buyer’s Guide, to the tv screen as an infomercial.

Richard Hirtle, Ricky McMountain founder, president and chief executive officer, regards his first venture into infomercials as an experiment.

Hirtle, who puts out the five-times-a-year digest which combines editorial with selected advertising, says the infomercial, which is a visual translation of the Buyer’s Guide, has not yet spawned lots of sales for the infomercial advertisers.

But, he says that from the calls and comments he has received during the first three weeks of the infomercial’s four-week run, ‘one heck of lot of people are watching these things.’

Hirtle bought studio time and produced the 15-minute, stop-motion infomercial at a cost of $5,300, a drop in the bucket compared with the money spent on other infomercials – anywhere from $125,000 to $150,000.

Ricky McMountain subsidized part of the cost of $10,000 a week for air-time.

Advertisers paid $4,500 for production and a guaranteed frequency of four showings per day across the cable networks in Metro Toronto

The structure of the infomercial follows that of the 72-page Buyer’s Guide, which first came out in 1986 and, with a circulation of 700,000, is now a popular addition to households in the greater Toronto area.

The Ricky McMountain story is told first, followed by separate 15- and 30-second commercials from six of the company’s advertisers.

Between each commercial are snippets of information.

Each advertiser includes its own phone number for direct response and the Ricky McMountain number is featured.

Meanwhile, this fall, Hirtle says he will be looking for an ad agency to handle the launch next year of Ricky McMountain Millennium, a 52-page, full-size, full-color book.

He says each of Millennium’s six issues a year will be backed with $1 million worth of image advertising from national companies.

Hirtle says Sears Canada has signed on and three or four others are close to signing.

He says circulation will be 10.8 million.