Remainder advertising, also interchangeably known as remnant, standby, fire-sale and direct response advertising, is media time (and space) that is traditionally reserved for direct marketers who sell direct to consumers. It is typically offered at an opportunistic cost 50% to 95% less than the “rate card” rate. While some media have only a finite amount of time or space to offer, different media approach remainder advertising on a continuum of “necessary evil” to “welcome revenue stream”.
The typical, but not completely set, rules of remainder advertising are as follows: the rates are typically available only at the last minute and require the advertiser to have a certain amount of flexibility regarding placement. Payment rules require cash-in-advance. This form of advertising can, on occasion, be pre-empted at the last moment by a higher priced advertiser, and is not necessarily guaranteed to run at all (and if not, is fully refundable). It typically requires an 800 number (or some other type of response mechanism) and the rates are usually reserved for advertisers who do not advertise in the publication or station under traditional rate structures.
Although the rules of remnant media may seem prohibitive or restrictive at first glance, the consideration of paying pennies on the dollar for advertising time or space that is required to create profit is a strategic payoff that historically works for its’ users. Having a persuasive message, a good offer and a strong product are all important elements of success, but the reduced pricing of remnant advertising is an important cog in the wheel of generating profits from the strategy.