Char-Broil's First DRTV Effort Gets Grill Sales Sizzling

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With the summer grilling season a couple of weeks away, Char-Broil sold out 14,000 units of its new Thermos brand Grill2Go through the company's first direct response TV effort.


The campaign began in late February, and Char-Broil was forced to stop running the 30-minute infomercial by April 23 because there was no more inventory to fulfill orders.


"Not only was the DRTV campaign a success, but it also helped us spur retail traffic for the grill," said Arthur Patterson, marketing director at Char-Broil, Columbus, GA. "This is the first time we have used DRTV to sell a product, and based on its success, we plan to continue to use DRTV for future product launches."


Char-Broil launched the product in retail locations in February. As the product began to sell out through DRTV, the company used retail inventory for DRTV fulfillment.


"We had to end the show two months sooner than we originally anticipated," said Hugh Allspaugh, vice president of client services at Tyee Euro RSCG, Portland, OR, the agency that produced the spot. "Ironically we started selling in the tail end of winter and sold out before the peak summer selling season began."


The 30-minute spot demonstrated the different uses of the grill through three scenarios: a family using it during a camping trip, younger urban residents using it on a small patio and a group of sports fans grilling in a parking lot during tailgating festivities. The production also featured an engineer explaining the product's design.


"The Grill2Go is a specially niched product, and we thought that DRTV was the best way to target our audience and do it in a cost-effective manner," Patterson said. "DRTV allowed us to sell units and achieve branding at the same time."


Allspaugh added, "We were hoping to reach a 20- to 40-year-old demographic, but we got 30- to 50-year-olds. Because the grill is $199, it is a little too expensive for 20-year-olds."


While the grill targets an audience that is 70 percent male, Allspaugh said it appeals to women because of its portability and easy cleanup features.


The infomercial aired on national cable networks and their local affiliates, such as Home & Garden Television, Fox Family Channel, USA Network and The Food Network, Patterson said.


The infomercial directed consumers to a toll-free number and the Web site, www.grill2go.com, to purchase the grill. Patterson said roughly 1,800 units were sold through the site since its debut. Customer service representatives upsold a travel carrying case and hose adapters.


Patterson explained that the advertised $199 DRTV price was $50 higher than the retail cost because the DRTV offer included an additional grate and a food and beverage cooler. "The different prices was slightly problematic, and we will avoid that in the future," he said.


Char-Broil is looking to run a 60-second version of the DRTV campaign preceding football season. The short-form ad will direct consumers to a phone number and Web site but also will indicate that the product is available at retail locations, Patterson said.


Tyee Euro RSCG was responsible for production, scripting and media placement for the campaign. Bradley Direct -- the internal fulfillment division of Char-Broil's parent company, The W.C. Bradley Co. -- handled fulfillment and telemarketing.


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