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July 10, 2008

3 Min Read
The Making of a PHONE+ Ad (or What I Did on The Fourth of July!)








By Geoff Shepstone, CEO of Telecom Brokerage Inc.

TBI has for years had a full-page ad in PHONE+. It is at times difficult to consistently come up with new ads that are of interest to readers. For the August issue TBI partnered with USA Digital, a reseller that specializes in voice services for telemarketing companies.

For our ad, I thought of the tagline, “When the rubber meets the road.” I tasked TBI’s marketing manager, Steve Rubel, with finding a photo of a tire on the road. Steve came up with the great picture of a late model car’s wheel performing a burn out, also referred to as “smoking the tires.” We assembled the ad, received approval from USA Digital’s president, Mark Costello, and I was feeling good about getting the ad completed prior to the submission deadline, leaving me free to enjoy the three-day Independence Day weekend.

That was when the wheels fell off. I was told the cost of the image was $680 per submission. TBI normally runs joint vendor ads in several different mediums and the total bill to use the ad was in the thousands of dollars! The subsequent Internet search for alternative pictures did not come close to the original. Compounding the problem was we had to have the ad submitted no later than Monday morning, July 7. The only alternative was to take a similar picture to the original over the holiday weekend, e-mail it to my marketing department over the weekend and submit the ad by 9 a.m. on Monday.

I was confident I could create a similar picture due to my prior experience smoking the tires roughly 18 to 20 years ago. It also didn’t hurt that I currently own a Muscle Car. (For you car enthusiasts, it’s a 69 Mercury Cougar, four-speed convertible with an original 390 big block, S code.) In addition, my brother and his family were in town. That meant his wife Sharon, a published photographer, could take the photos of the required quality.

When I was a teenager the last place I would smoke tires was at home, but now I am a law-abiding citizen with a good driving record, so my choices for photo locations were limited. I decided that my driveway would be the best bet.

The author at the wheel, readying to smoke the tires. Geoff’s sister-in-law Sharon, far left, photographed the smoking tires while his nephew Alan held a box fan to help control the volume of smoke and his brother Keith videotaped the fun for posterity.



















The initial run produced too much smoke in front of the tire. I recruited my nephew to hold a box fan for the second and final run. It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Check out the photo in the August issue of PHONE+ or click here.

  • Taking you own photo instead of using the professional image … Saved $680

  • Getting your wife to let you smoke the tires in your own driveway … Pretty Fun

  • Having your 11-year-old nephew tell you, “Your the coolest uncle ever!” … Priceless

Geoff Shepstone is president of Telecom Brokerage Inc., one of the countries largest master agencies. He also is a member of the 2007-08 PHONE+/ Channel Partner Conference & Expo Advisory Board.

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