If you’ve ever been flipping through the television channels, saw a promotion for a product and immediately thought, “I have to have that,” you may have been hooked by Scott Opfer’s work.
As founder and president of Opfer Communications Inc., he has built an international reputation in the infomercial and direct-to-consumer sales industry. Ofper has helped pitch kitchen appliances – such as Flippin' Fantastic pancake maker, Ronco rotisserie oven and the NuWave infrared oven – as well as late celebrity pitchman Billy Mays’ Simoniz car care line.
Opfer says he came into the business almost by accident, while working as a local sportscaster at KOLR10.
A friend was struggling to keep Legends Restaurant & Sports Bar afloat. So Opfer went to Killian Softball Complex, videotaped softball games and handed a coupon to each team for a free pitcher of beer – which they could drink while watching their own game at the bar.
“There’s not a softball team in America that drinks only one pitcher of beer,” Opfer says. “And they all want to see themselves on TV, so the place was packed.”
Based on the success of that promotion, the one-camera operation turned into three. Opfer spent two years working nights in his basement before leaving his job and forming a marketing company.
Opfer Communications moved into shooting TV commercials, as well as corporate videos for John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, American Dehydrated Foods Inc., SRC Holdings Corp. and Loren Cook Co.
A turning point came when he and some partners started a children’s fishing show called “Young America Outdoors,” sponsored by Wal-Mart, and attracted the attention of a fishing lure company that needed a crew for an infomercial. After producing the half-hour spot for Flying Lure at Big Cedar Lodge, Opfer says he was determined to learn the infomercial business.
Opfer now leads a staff of 15 at the office off Kansas Expressway at 2861 S. Meadowbrook Ave.
“I write the vast majority of scripts, and I’m intimately involved in the creative approach of how we produce the spots,” he says. “I have a great team of people, but it’s my job to conduct the orchestra.”
Opfer Communications has attracted international distributors. The studio is paid for production costs plus a performance royalty, Opfer says, based on direct-to-consumer sales as well as brick-and-mortar retail sales. Crews build sets and actors are hired for spots that are generally shot in Springfield.
Opfer is working on a budding partnership with Noble Food’s The Food Channel.
“I think that’s what’s really going to change for us more than the content is the way that it’s distributed,” he says. “For years, our core competency has been distributing media through television, and now it’s through your phone.”
Element Springfield South opened; Outlaw Gentlemen Barbershop added a second location; and wellness studio Stretch Zone launched.