Kitty Vac DRTV Spot Goes High Definition

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Interactive marketing agency AdUmart produced a two-minute DRTV spot for the cat litter air filtration system Kitty Vac that uses the high-definition television, or HDTV, format in a new campaign.

The spot is airing on cable channels in eight major metropolitan markets. AdUmart also is developing a Web site that will feature the spot and plans to export the campaign to Europe later this year.

Production costs for HDTV direct-response spots tend to be 10 percent to 15 percent higher than for the standard format, said Bob Belzer, president/CEO of AdUmart, St. Paul, MN. Though the number of HDTV-capable television sets in the United States is growing, most viewers still use the older analog versions and won't notice much of a difference in the picture quality.

But because HDTV is a digital format, it's easier to transfer to Europe, where digital television is in broader use, and to the Internet, Belzer said. Internet streaming video is seen on computer monitors that are capable of much higher resolutions than standard television sets, so the quality difference is noticeable.

"It's a universal platform," Belzer said of HDTV. "It allows us to capture and store audio and visual information in the richest format possible."

The spot itself offers visual demonstrations of how the product is used through actors, both human and feline, and through computer graphics. An unseen narrator explains how Kitty Vac is effective in defeating cat litter odor.

The product is available for three payments of $39.99. The offer includes bonus products such as a new cat litter box with utensils, a scent bar and filter needed for operation of the Kitty Vac and a free subscription to Cats & Kittens Magazine.

Belzer said he would consider sales of about 20,000 units of Kitty Vac via the DRTV spots and online channels by year's end to be a success.

Animal Planet, Bravo and CourtTV are among the cable stations airing the spot, he said. AdUmart did not disclose the metropolitan markets where it is running.

Kitty Vac also will be advertised over the Internet through search engines on more than 30 cat-lover Web sites, including

Media placement is being handled by Apex Media, which distributes about 70,000 hours of media time per year for its various clients. The Aftermarket Co., Phoenix, is providing teleservices support for the campaign and has assigned a unique inbound toll-free line for each channel on which the spot is running to better measure results and individual media performance.

The market for digital television sets in the United States is small. In 2006, however, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to require all television broadcasters to begin providing HDTV signals, and many experts expect this development to accelerate the acceptance of HDTV in the United States.

Sales of digital-television products, which include HDTV-capable sets, are rising, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. The association projects sales of such products to reach 2.1 million units this year and 10.5 million units in 2006.

"If you're producing a spot and using it over and over and over [throughout] the years, your money is better spent on HDTV," Belzer said.


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