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TV commercials but no local stores?

The other day my husband and I noticed that Jack in the Box had started advertising in our area. I went online to check locations (we live near Philly) and the closest store is in North Carolina!! We also regularly see commercials for Sonic and the closest location is at least 50+ miles away.

I want to know why companies advertise in markets where their product doesn't exist. I find it hard to believe they'd bother wasting the money on the off chance that someone in my area will travel to a state where a Sonic or Jack in the Box exists and think, "Oh, I remember that commercial I saw back home. I should try this place." Or maybe I'm just naive and don't understanding advertising.

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  1. National buys are, in some cases, cheaper than region specific. Especially on the networks that are not ABC, NBC, CBS and the shows that are not uber popular the advertisers can get such a good deal that it just doesn't make sense to buy the region-specific spots.

    1. Sometimes is an indication they are trying to move into the area. We had adds for Lowe's for at least a year before they opened one in Minnesota. Seems they wanted to make sure people knew who they were the moment they opened.

      1. Were you watching cable? Sometimes national ad buys are even cheaper on cable and stuff sneaks through.

        1. Another one I hope doesn't come true - here in SoCal on cable I see ads for CiCi's Pizza Buffet occasionally. Must make (the plague of) Little Caesar's look like gourmet...

          3 Replies
          1. re: DiveFan

            We also see ads for CiCi's Pizza up here in the Bay Area. Looks terrible to me but has my teenage boys salivating.

            1. re: baseballfan

              I hope their tastes come from sneaking bad pizza on the side from the usual places. You wouldn't be feeding that to them voluntarily :-)? Bless you, TJs, for pizza dough.

              1. re: DiveFan

                TJ's dough is a moms best friend. I make pizza at home often but occasionally the teenagers manage to eat Domino's, Roundtable etc although never in the company of their parents!

          2. I get very annoyed by the endless ads for chains that don't operate in our (very large) county... the latest one is Red Robin 'gourmet' burgers - I've never ever seen a store! And the nearest Sonic is at least fifty miles from us... I'm sure there are others, but Sonic is the ubiquitous one. It's getting to the point where if I ever DO see a Sonic store, I'll avoid it on purpose just because their ads are so annoying!
            The cable company keeps having ads that say 'we can target your ads to a specific area' - I wish these chains would take them up on it!

            1. The Sonics commercials drive me crazy. My preggo food addled brain is dying for some of their shakes!

              1. There's a Sonic in Morgantown/Lancaster now. Of course that's 40 miles away, but at least you can stop there on a pilgrimmage to the outlets. It's better than before where the nearest Sonic was way out in Steelers country.

                I haven't seen any JITB commercials...that's goofy! But the Sonic commercials have always irked me.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jzerocsk

                  I see JITB commercials all the time, and the nearest one to me is 250 miles away. Same with Sonic, no locations within 125 miles of Chicago but their ads play all the time. I guess when you get big enough, it is cheaper to buy national ads rather than negociate contracts with hundreds of local stations/cable systems.

                2. Maybe they do think you'll say "Oh, I remember that commercial I saw back home. I should try this place." It worked with my son. He'd seen Pollo Loco commericals on TV here in Berkeley. When we found ourselves in San Jose at place called Nickel City (don't ask) next door to a Pollo Loco, he was thrilled. We agreed to have lunch there. It was okay, but once was enough.

                  1. I've seen this too ,especially with Jack in the box, on a similar note what makes me want to cry though ,is every time i see those drink cups with the palm trees on them on a tv show...you know the ones from IN-N-OUT...I'd soooooo love to have a double double : (

                    1. I see the Sonic commercials too!! Soo annoying, I always want one of their milkshakes....

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chew on That

                        if you are in the Chicago area, find a Culvers, personally I think their shakes are superior to sonics, the burgers are great at both places.

                      2. It also could be you are watching a feed for a timeslot other than your own. For instance, here in Los Angeles, I get both the east and west coast feeds for HBO, Cinemax, ESPN. Other channels, like Bravo, GSN, etc. operate only on an east coast feed. By nature, the east coast feeds are going to have more east-coast centric advertising.

                        1. You could also be seeing them on TBS and other superstations that are on cable. We get JITB and Sonic up here in Canada on TBS and other such stations. None within several area codes of us.