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Appliance Direct: An Advertising Investigation

If you’re a Central Florida native, you’ve almost certainly seen an Appliance Direct commercial on your television. If by chance you’re unfamiliar, here’s a brief crash course:

Although Appliance Direct commercials are far from flashy or high-budget, there’s just something genuinely endearing about them. The man who stars in every single one, Sam Pak (“I love appliances!”), is something of a celebrity to Central Florida consumers. After all, we've spent years glancing up at our televisions to see him gracing our screens, surrounded by the appliances upon which he built his empire.

Pak founded Appliance Direct in 1995, having started in the appliance business when he was only 17 years old. Back then, he recognized the potential of using a top-down approach in coordination with appliance manufacturers rather than the bottom-up approach of traditional retail. Thus, Appliance Direct — and its legacy of entertaining advertisements — was born.

Fast forward nearly three decades and Appliance Direct commercials are as well-known among Central Florida residents as ever. YouTube videos of the ads boast hundreds of thousands of views, accompanied by numerous comedic interpretations. But what is it about those commercials that led to their lasting fame in Central Florida?

In my opinion, Appliance Direct's commercials have endured because they're simple and authentic. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, company president Mark Salmon described their approach to advertising as "nuts-and-bolts [and] old-school." This methodology extends to their production: at the time the article was written, Appliance Direct shot three commercials at a time and had six in rotation, focusing on cable.

Along with the simple, no-frills production, concentrating on cable to target commercials to specific stores helped Appliance Direct become a local television staple. In doing so, the company reached an impressive level of regional recognition that has stood the test of time. The lesson we can learn from Appliance Direct is simple: whether you're looking to sell appliances or otherwise, cultivating an authentic brand image is essential. (And if you have a charismatic founder who can achieve local stardom for your company, that's a bonus too!)

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Do you have any other favorite Central Florida ads you'd like us to investigate? Let us know in the comments section — and be sure to sign up for our email newsletter, where you'll find industry inspo, freebies, and information about upcoming AAF Orlando events.

P.S. In case you were wondering, Sam Pak isn't married to the Appliance Direct spokeswoman with the knee brace. And the knee brace isn't even real — it's a prop for commercials for Appliance Direct's sister company, Scratch & Dent World. The more you know!

About the Author: Nicole Wills is a communications professional and freelance writer with a passion for storytelling. She currently serves as the Content Chair of AAF Orlando's Communications & Creative Committee. When Nicole isn't writing, she can be found reading, playing video games, and hanging out with her cat (sometimes all at once).

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