DirecTV Enlists Mail Campaign to Push DSL

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A direct mailer from DirecTV Broadband Inc. promoting its new digital subscriber line service, DirecTV DSL, is expected to begin reaching 1.2 million homes Monday.


Half of the mailing was sent to its subscribers of parent firm Hughes Electronics Corp.'s DirecTV, and the rest went to prospects attained from an undisclosed list broker. Prospects had shown interest in Internet service providers and had displayed characteristics that suggested computer ownership.


The campaign, which cost $500,000 in print production, is part of a large television, radio and e-mail push called "Feel the Joy" that began earlier this month. Developed by the Los Angeles unit of advertising agency Deutsch, the overall campaign focuses on the speed of broadband connections.


The campaign offers a three-month introductory price of $19.99 a month, which rises to $49.99 monthly thereafter. In addition, DirecTV satellite subscribers are offered a free month of the company's TotalChoice package, which normally costs $31.99 a month and includes 105 channels.


DirecTV said its satellite TV customers are seven times more likely to order DSL services than are prospects, but it would not divulge projected response rates for the direct mail campaign.


Some consumers live in areas too remote to pick up DSL, so the company checked its list to ensure that recipients could use the offer.


"There are challenges with this (product) in targeting a pre-qualified audience," said Matt Downing, vice president of marketing at DirecTV Broadband, Cupertino, CA. "In light of the television and radio campaigns, direct tools like direct mail are our most efficient means of targeting customers who are qualified right now."


Prospects were sent a piece with slightly different copy introducing them to DirecTV as a company and explaining the potential benefits of DSL. However, the same two-page piece largely was sent to both DirecTV customers and prospects.


Heading the effort was a foldout letter with 12 bullet points describing the technology. To lessen the load on DirecTV's call center, the letter encourages recipients to order the service at www.directvdsl.com/offer/amazing with a subhead stating, "You'll Accomplish More on the Web Faster."


A two-side, one-page brochure touting DSL's advantages over normal phone lines also was included. One side contains an image of a young couple using the service and still shots of a football game and other content to illustrate what you can view via Internet video. On the other side appears an image of a URL on a computer screen showing www.whhhheeeeeeeeeeeee.com. DirectTV has purchased that domain name, among other unusual names being used on the mail piece, and a site is under construction that will link viewers to the DSL service's site.


"The URL is like the rest of the campaign in that it expresses the joy one gets from using DSL," Downing said.


In addition, the mailing used 6-inch-by-9-inch envelopes following tests by DirecTV that used other envelopes such as standard and executive.


Downing said that his firm plans to run additional mailings of similar volume to promote the DSL service this fall.


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