Don Doerr, president of National Advancement Corp. (NAC), a $2-million Santa Ana, Calif., company, discovered it was easier than he'd hoped to get his computer-repair training center featured on televised news programs. To publicize NAC's technician-certification program, which aims to combat computer-repair scams, Doerr worked with a video producer to stage a Hard Copy-style sting operation. At a friend's office, Doerr planted a computer virus and called in six computer-repair companies. What transpired made for an entertaining two-minute video news release.

Such press releases "have to be newsworthy and shot in the news style," says Tony Perri of Perri Pharris Productions, in Newport Beach, Calif., which taped NAC's sting. "It can't just be slick PR; that won't make it on the air."

Doerr spent a week with Perri Pharris and $20,000 for the production of a video, which ran late last summer on major network affiliates in 6 of the top 20 markets. A consumer-protection show on CBS and CNBC, Fight Back, aired its own version of the sting, starring Doerr, and Fox TV was next. "We more than made our money back," says Doerr, who now sends the video clips to potential customers.