DRTV, Blog Combo Wins Leads for Eight O'Clock Coffee, Bosley Medical

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Brand retailers are waking up to the smell the coffee when it comes to the effectiveness of direct response television.

Eight O'Clock Coffee, Towson, MD, recently launched two DRTV spots created by Portland, OR-based Respond 2 Communications, which call on customers to the visit the company's Eight O'Clock Coffee Web site for downloadable store coupons.

"Eight O'Clock is a value gourmet coffee - gourmet coffee at a supermarket price," Mr. Maloy said. "Coupons and price are important in this segment."

Five weeks after the July 17 launch, visitors to the company's site were up 235 percent compared to the five weeks prior, according to Jeff Maloy, senior brand manager at Eight O'Clock Coffee.

Eight O'Clock plans to continue the campaign through December, with results from its initial foray into DRTV advertising exceeding expectations.

The company has also entered the blogosphere, inviting readers to "Unwind with 'The Grind,'" a blog that features characters from the DRTV campaign.

"We want to reach a younger demographic that might not be as familiar with Eight O'Clock Coffee, as well as building an online community of coffee drinkers," Mr. Maloy said.

The blog has taken off slowly, but this shouldn't come as a surprise, according to Mario Schulzke, longtime blogger and director of strategic development at Respond2. He recently created a blog for Los Angeles-based Bosley Medical Group, one of the leading providers of hair restoration treatments.

"Blogs are a smart extension to DRTV, or indeed any form of marketing, because no matter what your product, more and more people are doing research online," Mr. Schulzke said. "And there's no better medium than the Internet for conveying first person experience with a product."

Bosley Medical, a direct response advertiser for 13 years, generates between 150,000 to 160,000 inquiries per year through its DRTV campaign, according to Steven Aquavia, Bosley's marketing director. The company considered doing a blog in addition to its lead generating DR campaign, but didn't want it to appear overly corporate or medical.

Enter Seth Garon, Respond 2's follically-challenged creative director. Mr. Garon jumped at the chance of a complimentary hair restoration treatment in return for blogging about his experiences.

Mr. Garon's blog at www.battleagainstbald.com has run for about a month but is only being widely publicized this week. It's already gained a following amongst Web searchers considering hair restoration, who have been e-mailing Mr. Garon with questions about his experiences.

As blog reader "Ben" wrote, "I think it's awesome that you decided to post. There really is a lack of first-hand information available about hair loss. The only things you usually find are posts that are trying to sell you some product."

What's more, the blog is already showing results for Bosley.

After Mr. Garon answered a few questions, Ben wrote, "I'm going to go for it. My plan is follow your progress and see how you feel in a few months and make my appointment."

All in all, blogs seem to work as a relationship marketing tool.

"No matter how big your company, blogging gives you a chance to interact one on one with your customers," Mr. Schulzke said.

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