BigStar.com Thinks Out of the Box With Pizza Promo

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BigStar.com, an online retailer of movie videos and DVDs, will launch a pizza-box promotion next month that includes a coupon for a free movie with every $25 purchase.


The coupon will be part of an ad printed on 1 million pizza boxes for distribution in 4,000 pizzerias and delis across New York City and Long Island, southern Connecticut and northern New Jersey.


Also included in the ad are suggestions for movies that are listed under themes such as cheesy, spicy, space, odd and macho man - all to chime with the varying flavors of pizzas. A cheesy movie, for instance, has recommendations such as "You've Got Mail" and "City of Angels."


"The strategy behind the pizza promo is building awareness of BigStar.com," said Donna Williams, the company's director of marketing and business development. "It's also a trial, coupons on boxes. [And] it's contextually relevant."


Best of all, the promotion is free to BigStar.com except for the cost of printing the ad.


It was BigStar's earlier offline effort -- ads painted on trucks that delivered pizza boxes to pizzerias -- that led to this idea.


Truck drivers who delivered Avco Industries' pizza boxes reported that pizzeria owners liked the ad and reacted positively. Sensing a new opportunity, Avco now wants to turn its pizza box into an ad vehicle. Hence its offer to BigStar.


If successful, the promotion will be exported by BigStar to other regional markets, possibly by the second quarter of 2000.


In the meanwhile, the retailer will continue advertising on 203 delivery trucks in New York, San Francisco, the Dallas metro area and Hollywood, CA.


BigStar relies on maverick marketing to stand out from intense competition that includes Amazon.com, Blockbuster.com and a host of other retailers that sell movies online. For instance, during last summer's heat wave in Dallas, radio ads urged listeners to stay inside and watch a movie from BigStar, which sells over 40,000 titles online.


"We want to increase our customer awareness and develop affinity for our brand," said Williams.
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