Blockbuster Customizes Consumer Offers

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Blockbuster's latest marketing campaign will combine a little of the old with a little of the new as the video rental giant attempts to increase traffic and sales at

The company announced today that it will mail between 500,000 and 3 million CD-ROMs to consumers this fall. The target date is slated for October.

The goal is to get consumers to try the new ValueFlash electronic messaging system. The technology allows the video rental giant to provide special offers and content each time a consumer logs on to the Internet.

Blockbuster is working with CDKnet LLC, an Internet entertainment technology company, to create branded CDs that will contain video clips from films, audio samples, game demos, special offers and links to the site.

The Vflash Messenger technology also will be available for download on the disc. Before consumers are allowed to download the product, they will be asked to answer five profiling questions, such as: Do you want to hear about new releases, and do you want information about new games?

Once the software has been downloaded, the Blockbuster Vflash icon will appear on the consumer's desktop. Whenever the consumer goes online, the site will be notified and will serve up offers based on consumers' answers to the profiling questions. The icon will begin to blink, notifying the consumer that there are new offers.

If a consumer clicks on the icon, a pop-up window will appear with the new offers. If "Terminator" is on sale, for example, a link from within the window will take the consumer to the place on the site where the item can be purchased.

"It facilitates online transactions by bringing relevant offers to consumers," said Russell Kern, executive vice president/director of marketing at Inc., New York. is the parent company of CDKnet LLC and ValueFlash.

The Vflash technology acts as a loyalty vehicle, according to Kern.

"It's a customer retention and loyalty tool that keeps the brand in front of the consumer and provides value to the consumer," he said. "The only information they receive is relevant to the profile they created."

Blockbuster had yet to sign up advertisers and sponsors to appear on the CD-ROM at press time.

NBC announced last week that it would use the Vflash Messenger to offer links to "Today" show segments. The software is available at, and Consumers who download the software before Aug. 22 will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a trip to New York to see the airing of "Today."

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