Success Stories: Alabama Pride in Ruben

May 19, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Fox Television’s hit TV show American Idol is not only bringing notoriety to vocally savvy young adults, such as Alabama native Ruben Studdard, and giving a ratings boost to its affiliates, but it is also opening doors for nontraditional advertisers such as 205 Flava.
“The largest sales boost we have right now is American Idol,” said Dennis Leonard, the VP-GM of Birmingham, Ala.’s Fox affiliate WBRC-TV. “Our ratings for American Idol are running 37 percent higher than the rest of the country. We have seen 55 household rating points a week. … That’s equal to almost nine Super Bowls in ratings.”
The jumbo ratings have local advertisers clamoring for spots on American Idol, which air during prime time Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Those who can’t make buys on the show are gobbling up inventory on Bernie Mac, Wanda at Large, prime-time news and other popular shows that surround the reality contest series that has young adults crooning their way to a record contract, Mr. Leonard said. Many are also participating in promos for the show.
One advertiser that never would have thought it would have the money for prime-time TV buys is Birmingham-based shirt designer 205 Flava. The less than 1-year-old company stumbled onto success when American Idol contestant Mr. Studdard wore one of its shirts on air. The now-famous shirts, emblazoned with area code 205, soon became a mark that demonstrates his pride in Alabama.
Birmingham raked in $106.5 million in TV ad revenue in 2001, with WBRC’s being responsible for $31 million of it. By 2002 ad revenue for the market was up 5 percent and is expected to be up to $114 million by year-end 2003, according to BIA Financial Network.