BigStar.com Goes Hollywood

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BigStar.com, the self-proclaimed online movie superstore, is launching its long-term "Big Stars" branding campaign in conjunction with the 72nd Annual Academy Awards on March 26.


The radio and 15-second television spots will premiere at two dot-com Oscar parties in Los Angeles later next month -- the Yahoo Internet Life Film Festival (March 22 and 23) and Hollywood Stock Exchange's O2K event (March 24 and 25).


The advertising campaign will feature magnified views of the body parts of stars. For example, an ad features a shot of Julia Roberts' smile with the tagline: "From Pretty Woman to Runaway Bride, buy any movie with this BigStar.com."


The site waited to launch its first television spots until it felt its product was mature. "We've been around for two years and we're now just starting TV. TV is the most emotive medium," said Donna Williams, senior vice president of marketing and business development for BigStar.com, New York. "It's not responsible to use it too soon in the lifecycle of the product."


Dates for the national rollout of the spots are not set, but the site confirmed it plans to make a number of national cable ad buys.


The first print ad will appear March 6 in Entertainment Weekly. Other print ads will run in Movieline, Premier and Yahoo Internet Life in April.This campaign is expected to run for the better part of the year.


"We believe it will have legs and permanence. We're starting with three celebrities initially and will continue to roll out two or three celebrities every few months," said Williams.


The site's goal is to build brand awareness among its target market of 50 million online entertainment users, 18.1 million of which are people who enjoy movies, according to a fourth quarter 1999 study conducted by Cyber Dialogue, New York.


Williams has labeled the site's overall branding strategy as "shopatainment. We have content and polls and other reasons for people to come to the site," said Williams. "[This is important considering] the majority of the population hasn't shopped online yet."


The online video and DVD market has no shortage of competitors ranging from Amazon.com to Reel.com and even the auction sites. BigStar.com hopes to carve out its niche among the competition.


"We have a fun, cool site. It's a good place to be differentiating ourselves from our competitors who are more positioned around price," said Williams. "It's a viable strategy, just as it is in the real world. There are more retailers than just Wal-Mart. Clearly branding is a part of that."


One of the site's quiet strengths has been its e-mail marketing database, according to Williams. It currently e-mails offers to 1.7 million consumers.


Mad Dogs & Englishmen, New York, is the agency of record for the campaign.
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