In a recent taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, several local businesses were treated to some high-visibility advertising – for free! The show’s taping of Austin’s SXSW incorporated signs of local iconic businesses beloved by locals. Landmarks such as Rounders Pizzeria, the Continental Club, and Hut’s Hamburgers, each known for their eye-catching neon signs, got their 15 minutes of fame (or more) in front of millions of viewers throughout a week of taping.
A lot of local love was bestowed upon venerable local eateries and foodstuffs, like the queso omelet at Magnolia Café, and Bird’s Barbershop, which offers patrons a nice cold one with each hair cut. As local band White Denim played, signs of seminal local institutions were displayed behind them on stage, where they were clearly visible. Most businesses interviewed had no idea that was going to happen, but were glad it did. The daily rate for advertising on a late night show such as Jimmy Kimmel Live! Ranges from $50,000 to $80,000 – for a mere 30 seconds! That’s a plug many of these businesses could not have afforded.
When local businesses saw their business signage displayed – for five whole days – on national television, many were thunderstruck and flattered. But the folks at Jimmy Kimmel Live! knew what they were doing, because although small businesses got a free boost in advertising, the show undoubtedly had its own motives in doing so. These business signs, in addition to being local favorites and oozing nostalgia, were also a clever way to bring local color and culture to the show itself. The owner of the Continental Club (located on South Congress Avenue), felt flattered and appreciated the extra care and thought put into representing the area. The owner of the Austin Motel applauded the show for showcasing the creative small business culture of the South Congress shopping district.
So often when shows like this are taped, it’s in a studio which could be anywhere – and audiences know that. By decorating the stage with local business signage, the show upped its own legitimacy, which made a positive impression on audiences in Austin, TX, and around the country.