Bolder Technologies Heads Into DRTV

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Bolder Technologies Corp., Golden, CO, entered the realm of direct response television this week with a 2-minute infomercial produced by Wheatly Blair Inc., Chicago, for its SecureStart rechargeable, high-powered battery.


The selling point of the product is Bolder's patented Thin Metal Film technology, winner of IndustryWeek's Technology of the Year Award in 1998, which allows the SecureStart to be compact. Despite its size, the battery can remain unused for up to 12 months and still jump-start any car or truck. The battery features a number of add-ons such as a flashlight and jumper-cable clamps.


"There have always been jump-starting units available to tow trucks and such, but they weigh as much as 30 to 40 pounds and have to be wheeled around by a cart. This technology allows us to offer an all-in-one, five-pound jump-starting unit directly to the public - which is unlike anything that exists today in terms of its high performance and relatively small size and weight," said Joseph Fojtasek, chief financial officer at Bolder.


The infomercial was introduced into a five-week national rotation last week on various cable networks, including the Discovery Channel, Fox News, Outdoor Life and the Game Show Channel. The spot carries a progressively informational tone.


"The infomercial will help educate consumers to how the product works and its advantages," said Sue Bury, Bolder's marketing communications manager. "What we have created and what we hope to deliver to the consumer through the short-form infomercial is a very high-impact, emotional type of experience."


If you haven't heard the name Bolder Technologies before, it's no surprise to Fojtasek. Since the company's creation in 1991, he said, Bolder was known only for its technological merits. "We were strictly a development-stage company for a couple of years, and now we have finished developing our core technology," he said. "This is the first consumer product that incorporates that core technology. It's actually just the first of several products that we anticipate introducing over the next few years, all of which will use our enabling technology to target some very large market opportunities."


Bolder has been offering SecureStart through its Web site, www.securestartnow.com, since late last year. Fojtasek said the company had planned to incorporate the site into the infomercial from the very beginning. "We have a Web site that allows for direct sales, and we have since sold a number of units through the Web site; but this infomercial will help sell units directly, bring people to the Web site and help our retail distributors like Sears," he said. "The Web site, Sears and any other new retail stores where the product will be sold in the future will be mentioned in the infomercial."


Using direct response to sell this new technology seemed like a logical step, according to Bury. Combined with their strategic Internet marketing campaign, they hope to see television sales and brand-name recognition increase and solidify. "Definitely one of the things we hope to accomplish through an infomercial is brand awareness for this product. This is a relatively new category, and we wanted to make sure that the SecureStart name got out there," Bury said. The length of the infomercial also was an important part of the marketing strategy. "The reason we went with a two-minute short-form infomercial is because we can show it at a higher frequency and at varied times to a greater audience than a long-form would conceivably give us," she said.


It was important to both Bolder and the producer of the commercial, Wheatly Blair, that the spot captured the frustration and danger of being caught on the road with a dead battery and no help in sight. They realized that the only way to do this was to treat the short-form as a true cinematic endeavor.


"We used local, real talent with a well-known, artistically talented and involved director to capture the emotional aspect of the product. In this respect, we also decided to use film instead of video, which we feel gives a better overall visual feel and the sense of a quality production," Bury said. Though they do not consider the short form to serve as a test or simply an introduction of the new battery, Bury said creating a more involved and instructional long-form version of the spot is not out of the question.


"We are planning to stay with the short-form version to see how it goes. In the future, we may move to a longer infomercial," she said, "but we will have to see if the product and consumer demand warrants it."
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