Laser Treatment Infomercials Target Upscale Audience

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LAS VEGAS - American Video Group, Los Angeles, a DRTV production company, is in the process of completing two infomercials for medical centers that perform laser skin resurfacing and laser eye treatments.

The infomercials are intended to supplement and replace the usual marketing methods for LaserCare Medical Centers, Costa Mesa, CA, which traditionally advertised in print publications. Those print advertisements encouraged people to attend a free seminar, usually held at a nearby hotel, in which a consultant or doctor would explain a certain treatment and try to recruit new patients.

"An infomercial eliminates the need for hosting a seminar," said John Brezner, founder and creative director of American Video Group. "It also delivers a highly qualified lead."

The infomercials, scheduled to begin airing in the Los Angeles market next week, promote two kinds of laser treatments. Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure where a laser beam is applied to the skin to make it look more youthful. Laser eye treatment is a procedure where a laser beam is applied to the cornea to improve vision.

Brezner said that while producing an infomercial is costlier than creating a print ad, it's possible to realize a savings in media costs over the long term (see table this page). The infomercial also eliminates some of the need for a costly, one-on-one consultation with a doctor for basic information about the procedure.

The doctors group normally spends about $158,000 to run a quarter-page ad in The Los Angeles Times eight times a year, followed by a seminar at a hotel that costs about $10,000. Brezner said an infomercial costs about $130,000 to produce and air throughout a year-long period in a local market, but further savings are realized the second year, when the biggest expenditure is on media.

The infomercials are expected to air on local broadcast in the L.A. market and on local cable in the western Los Angeles region, including 240,000 households in the tony areas of Santa Monica, Brentwood and Beverly Hills.

"We want to reach upscale areas that would be interested in these procedures," Brezner said.

Brezner's previous DRTV successes include a golf video called Bob Mann Automatic Golf that posted $20 million in sales in 1993. The program aired as a 13-week series and also offered an instructional video that was eventually offered in retail stores.

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