Cashes in With Mr. V

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Mr. V has been a good bet for The fictional character at the center of's multichannel direct marketing campaign that began Jan. 1 has helped increase sales more than 480 percent from the same period last year.

"Whenever someone goes to Las Vegas, they always have a guy," president Howard Lefkowitz said. "Whether it's someone you know or someone that a friend tells you to call, there's a guy who can help get you what you need, and Mr. V is that guy. In this case, he is a metaphor for, and we can get you what you need." accepts reservations for the city's hotels and casinos as well as airlines that serve Las Vegas.

Two TV spots are running nationwide, though Lefkowitz said eight have been filmed and will run throughout the year.

Print ads are running in major daily and weekly metropolitan newspapers and more than 10 consumer-oriented print publications. As with the TV spots, other print ads will follow throughout the year.

An e-mail effort begins by the end of the month using the same theme and visuals as the print and TV ads. Lefkowitz said it will consist of several million e-mails to subscribers of travel and gambling magazines and those who previously have booked reservations online.

Ads in each medium include a phone number or Web address for people to respond. All the ads will be customized to the areas in which they run.

"We will run an ad in Seattle telling consumers that 'it's not raining in Vegas,'" Lefkowitz said, "and that they should take advantage of the 'get out of the rain' offer from Mr. V. The offers will constantly be changing."

The visuals of all ads will have some consistency as well in that they will always appear to take place in Mr. V's office and show him from behind sitting in his chair.

The tagline " -- It's who you know" will appear at the end of the commercials and at the bottom of the print ads.

Traffic to the site has risen 40 percent since the campaign began while call center activity has gone up 125 percent from this time last year. Lefkowitz said sales were up nearly fivefold, though he would not give a dollar amount.

The yearlong campaign will cost a minimum of about $7 million.


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