Stay Tuned

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Flipping through magazines, chatting on a cell phone, taking a cat nap. Steve Perrette of Public Image LTD…The Salon in Wayne, NJ, noticed how clients entertained themselves during time-consuming services. He wanted to offer them another way to pass the time, so he bought a few flat-screen televisions and started showing movies, ball games and popular television programs.

Soon, Perrette saw the TVs as a way to entertain his customers and grow the salon's business. He purchased movie-making software and got to work creating in-house commercials.

Kelly Brown (below) and Rabia Barqoqi (right), both stylists and colorists at Steve Perrette's salon, work on haircolor as a Steve TV commercial airs on the flat-screen TV behind them.
Kelly Brown (below) and Rabia Barqoqi (right), both stylists and colorists at Steve Perrette's salon, work on haircolor as a Steve TV commercial airs on the flat-screen TV behind them.

Affectionately called "Steve TV" by clients, the ads promote the salon's staff, services and products, and are woven seamlessly into recorded episodes of various television shows. For example, in between tearful Oprah segments, clients may see a minute-long piece about a new deep conditioning treatment or an interview with a master stylist. Commercials are anywhere from one to five minutes long and are refreshed every six to eight weeks.

Since first airing nearly two years ago, the ads have been a resounding success with clients and have greatly boosted retail business. "Right now, our big sellers are hair extensions and CHI hair straightening," Perrette says. "With hair straightening, we showed the whole process of how it worked in a three-and-a-half-minute commercial, and it took right off. When we did hair extension commercials, we sold dozens of them all of a sudden—and those things cost hundreds of dollars. After seeing these commercials, our clients walk up to their stylists, wanting to learn more about products they just saw."

Indeed, Steve TV has had a dramatic effect on the salon's bottom line. "In 2004, we grew retail 75 percent over the year before, and in 2005, we grew another 45 percent over that. Currently, we're growing at a rate of 27 percent over 2005."

But creating commercials is only for the tech savvy, right? Think again, says Perrette, who was always familiar with computers—he taught himself how to build a Web site—but had never tried his hand at television before Steve TV. Yet he was fascinated by design. After consulting experts at his local electronics store, who suggested Sony's user-friendly Screen Blast video-editing software, Perrette began experimenting with promotional videos from haircare companies and recorded television programs. Soon, he had taught himself how to edit video and add text and sound.

Although he's now a seasoned pro, the commercial-making process still takes several hours to complete. But, as Perrette points out, "It's very rewarding, and I like the challenge."

In fact, inspired by the success of Steve TV, Perrette has started making in-house commercials for other businesses in the area. "It's really a lot easier than you think," he says of the production process. "If you have questions, you can go to the experts. They have all the answers."