Companies Sail in With 'Titanic' Blitz

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"Titanic" fever will hit the nation's VCRs this summer, and direct response will figure prominently as companies help Paramount Home Video launch its largest-ever marketing campaign.

Paramount's campaign tie-ins with Sprint and Max Factor, which will run from mid-August through February, will encompass all forms of media -- from online advertising to national TV spots and print ads in publications targeted at the 12-17 and 18-49 age groups. Total expenditures are expected to exceed $50 million. "Titanic" will be released on video Sept. 1.

"We are thrilled to be joining forces with Sprint and Max Factor," Eric Doctorow, president of Worldwide Home Video for Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, said at the campaign announcement earlier this month. "Their unique promotional offers have helped us create an unprecedented marketing campaign."

Sprint, Washington, is giving consumers who sign up for its long-distance service a free "Titanic" video. Consumers can sign up at more than 5,000 Sprint locations in RadioShack stores, over the telephone at 800/PIN-DROP or online at They will receive a voucher redeemable for the purchase of "Titanic" at up to $22 from retail video outlets. The video will retail at a minimum of $19.95.

Consumers who already have bought a copy of "Titanic" can receive a $22 rebate from Sprint by mailing back a special promotion card included with the video. They also are eligible to receive two additional Paramount videos free by staying with Sprint for at least four months.

Existing Sprint customers are eligible for the promotions and will be notified via a direct mail piece to coincide with the video's release. The offer is good from Sept. 1 through Feb. 28. As an incentive to attract new customers, Sprint carried out a free-ticket promotion with last summer's "Men in Black" and is running a similar promotion with "Godzilla," "Deep Impact" and "Mask of Zorro." "Titanic" is its first video tie-in.

"What we are trying to do by tying into these entertainments is reach those lifestyle decisions consumers are making and tie into the things they want," said Sprint spokesman Steve Lunceford. "It's worked very well for us and has helped us attract folks we may not normally attract. In the case of 'Titanic,' it will be huge. It is the biggest movie of all time, and the video is anticipated to be the biggest video release of all time."

Max Factor, New York, is leveraging its position as the originator of movie-star makeup to kick off its largest marketing effort ever. The cosmetics company is using the video release to introduce its Tina Earnshaw Fall '98 Color Collection, named for the makeup artist who earned an Oscar nomination for her work with "Titanic," and make an offer for a commemorative "Titanic" book.

Consumers who purchase $10 worth of Max Factor cosmetics and the "Titanic" video can send away for the book "James Cameron's Titanic," which depicts the making of the movie in 178 color pages. The offer will be distributed via magazine inserts and 9 million promotional packages delivered door to door. The packages, designed by Leo Burnett, Chicago, contain the "Titanic" book offer, a brochure on the Tina Earnshaw collection and a cosmetics sample. They are being targeted to 50 percent of what Max Factor considers its movie-enthusiast audience.

Online video store also is hoping to capitalize on the "Titanic" frenzy by accepting video preorders at a special price of $9.99. The promotion started June 11 and will run through Sept. 15. All orders placed by Aug. 28 will receive the video on the Sept. 1 release date.

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