By comparison, Sykes said, he asked an advertising agency a few years ago about making a commercial and was quoted a price of $10,000 for production alone.
Bill Weisman, the project manager who oversaw the pest control spot for NBC Local Media, the network's in-house advertising production operation, said the commercial was part of an effort to reach out to smaller businesses after the slump in advertising from big national firms.
Ads for smaller businesses are also popping up on local billboards — even at sites that traditionally were dominated by large national advertisers.
Jodi Senese, executive vice president at CBS Outdoor, the network's billboard division, said that in the Los Angeles area, local restaurants and specialty stores were increasingly signing up for billboards in choice locations that were previously held by large banks, automakers and other national concerns. Trade schools have also been buying more space.
The billboard business has always been dominated by local advertisers, but now smaller players are getting into the act, said Jeff Golimowski, communications director of the Outdoor Advertising Assn. of America. "We're really starting to see increases in the amount of small businesses that are using outdoor advertising," he said.
For Jordan at Eat at Joe's, increased advertising — at lower prices — has been key to his efforts to recover from a big slump during the downturn.
"Newspapers and everybody else has been willing to give you deals because fewer people are advertising," Jordan said. "If you've got the money, you can get the deals."