CarMD takes DRTV for a spin

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CarMD, a Fountain Valley, CA-based manufacturer of the computerized car maintenance product by the same name, will roll out a long-form infomercial for the device nationwide next month.

The spot, created with Salt Lake City-based DRTV agency Barry Marketing Group, calls viewers to order the product by telephone.

"This is our first major push and initiative in the direct response space," said Art Jacobsen, director of business development for CarMD.

The company decided to use the long-form DRTV format primarily to demonstrate the CarMD device, which interfaces with cars that have on-board second-generation diagnostic technology. It seeks to gain new customers with the campaign.

"Our product is a highly demonstrable product, so we just wanted people to see how the product can be used and how it can benefit them," Jacobsen said.

Barry cast Chris Jacobs, the star of TLC car show Overhaulin', and Miss Utah 2000 Keri Hatfield for the spot, in which the duo travels across the country in a CarMD truck gathering testimonials from customers.

"We always try to identify the critical elements that make a product good for DRTV: Does the product have mass appeal? Is it demonstrable? Is it at the right price point?" said Bill Kittel, president of Barry Marketing Group. "CarMD did very well with those critical elements."

Barry also will handle media buying for the 28.5-minute spot.

"Nielsen and Arbitron don't really rate late nights and cable, so beyond looking at the target demographics is historical information: which programming, which day parts and which stations have been effective in direct response?" he said.

The company has previously run print ads in Popular Mechanics and All You magazines, featuring dedicated promo codes for online ordering. It also bought ad space in PC Magazine with a 1-888 number, and in San Antonio Woman magazine with just the URL and no promo code. The company, which also has aired radio spots, was featured on HSN, as well.

"We do user-based segmentation" to find prospects, Jacobsen said. "These include people with a check-engine light on, people buying or selling a used car or just doing routine maintenance."

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