I recently saw a commercial for Dryel (a home dry-cleaning product), and I had one of those “Aha!” moments. Dry-cleaning is one of the first casualties of a household budget during a recession, and that’s a problem for all those “Dry Clean Only” garments in our closets.

For Dryel, penny pinching times present an opportunity to reach an important audience: Upper-middle and middle-class Americans (and Canadians) with a wrinkle in their dry-cleaning budgets. Dryel has a cost-saving solution for that growing pile of “Dry Clean Only” clothes in the hamper.

And someone on that company’s executive committee realized that now is the time to spend money on ads that put Dryel in front of an emerging market. People may try Dryel now because they have to. If the product is good enough, though, people will buy Dryel later because they want to.

I looked at the company’s Web site statistics, and there was a substantial spike in traffic in October 2008, when news of the recession was really starting to hit hard. I suspect that their website will continue to have higher-than-usual traffic as people start looking for ways to save money…and Dryel makes an effort to show them a different dry-cleaning solution.

So listen up, all you companies out there who are cutting your advertising and marketing budgets, take note. Now is not the time to stop communicating with your audiences. Now is the time to, in the words of character Jean Luc Picard, “Engage.” (Thanks Jim Mitchem, advertising guru and expert on the high-impact use of the color orange, for sharing the video, below, with folks on your blog.)