Following an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show's "12 Days of Giveaways" last December, Jonathan Pinsky, president of Violight, the maker of a toothbrush sanitizer of the same name, saw sales surge. The company, which began marketing the product last fall, experienced its biggest sales week after the show, moving over 5,000 units. That was up about 250% from its average weekly performance. The attention, along with good PR in magazines like Time, helped already-interested retailers overcome their reservations about the brand exposure.
"We always want to go the PR route before we go the advertising route," Mr. Pinsky said. "When you consider the cost of a TV spot vs. giving them 250 products and getting Ellen's endorsement and getting it on her Web site, it was a no-brainer."