Barry Cole: Full-Time Jeweler, Part-Time Cable Guy Part II

In part one of the Retail Details blog on Barry Cole’s infomercials on BlabTV, a local cable access channel, we learned how the promotional effort got its start for the Pensacola, Fla.–based owner of Beré Jewelers. In part two we’ll examine how the content of these infomercials will change as BlabTV goes satellite later this year.

For many years, BlabTV covered a 100-mile radius around Pensacola, reaching small markets in and around Pensacola as well as southernmost cities in adjacent Alabama, such as Mobile. Earlier this year, BlabTV went from their own server to a larger off-site server to increase their market coverage, but it was enough to get Cole’s attention as an advertiser.

“I’ve spoken with BlabTV executives on several occasions about going satellite,” says Cole. “Now that they’re stepping up their game, I’ll be going back to a monthly production schedule versus my fourth-quarter-only seasonal schedule.” 

In working with store manager and BlabTV cohost Ashleigh Bigby, Cole is looking to leverage local events in to timely content for upcoming programs. Most notable is the Centennial of Naval Aviation Celebration.

Pensacola is home to the Blue Angels, the famed jet demonstration squadron formed in 1946. The Blue Angels’ homecoming air show happens every November and this year will be part of the Centennial celebration.

Breitling Plane

Breitling is one of Cole’s watch brands. The watchmaker’s long history with aviation and close relationship with the Blue Angels is a marketing match made in heaven for Beré Jewelers and Breitling during the Centennial and the Blue Angels’ air show.     

The watchmaker will also have a chalet on the runway where Cole can invite his Breitling customers to view the new Breitling watch collection. (The chalet also happens to be one of the better places to watch the air show.)

Cole also plans on working with Breitling and their famous aerobatic pilot Davis Martin to give a lucky customer a ride on the Breitling aerobatic plane. He’ll of course work on getting in-plane video footage to air on his cable access show. The store owner is also doing his own Breitling plane show at the Centennial. 

Other local social events for Cole’s programming schedule include a Mardi Gras parade in the spring and Fiesta in early June which celebrates the birth of Pensacola. In addition to capitalizing on local events, Cole will also work with local merchants on BlabTV with similar audiences to develop co-op programs.

“Fashion, entertainment, and channels focusing on current events in the area will be good partners in producing content that will be mutually beneficial to both our audiences,” says Cole.

Next year will be the first year in a long time Cole and his staff will have to create monthly content schedules for store infomercials. He’ll continue to integrate local social events in to his programs, but already has solid product schedule in mind:  

  • January and February: Valentine’s Day
  • March: Bridal
  • April: A post-Basel new product review
  • May: Mother’s Day
  • June: Bridal jewelry again, as well as wedding party gifts
  • July and August: Nautical-themed jewelry (to go with Florida’s active beach and boating cultures and summer tourist season)
  • September: A Pandora show (to coincide with the annual “Free Bracelet” Pandora in-store event)
  • October through December: Christmas and holiday-related programming

As the BlabTV programming schedule picks up again, Cole will be looking to use social media websites to get the word out, allowing him to be more spontaneous and detailed in letting existing and potential customers know what content will be presented and when on BlabTV.

Also, once a BlabTV show goes live, the customer can repurpose the aired show in whatever ways they choose. Cole has uploaded his most recent show to Beré Jewelers’ main website. BlabTV content has also been promoted on the store’s Facebook wall, and Cole is currently working on breaking 30- and 60-minute BlabTV shows in to shorter time segments to be uploaded to YouTube. Twitter will also be used later this year and in 2012 to send out last-minute schedule and content details. 

The return to a busy monthly programming schedule will make for busier work weeks for Cole, but he welcomes the challenge. “The benefits to my business for doing these shows year after year is people recognize us as a market leader,” says Cole. “We have a consistency and frequency of message with our seasonal shows, from October on through December, but a return to the monthly schedule will mean increased top-of-mind awareness in our market.”