DRTV May Trim Costs for Weight-Loss Product

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Nova Pharmaceutical Inc. will take its second shot at DRTV sales through an early summer campaign for its new weight management product, NxTrim System 3.

The 3 1/2-year-old herbal-supplement producer has marketed its products exclusively at retail locations and through local newspaper ads and in-store fliers. The company in 1999 tried to market its flagship appetite-suppressant product, NxTrim, through DRTV but failed and shifted exclusively to retail.

"We went about the DRTV campaign all wrong," said Jim Ayres, vice president of Nova Pharmaceutical, Lake Elsinore, CA. "We aligned with a production company that had one campaign under its belt, and we tried a short-form campaign."

The company has decided to test its new product through direct response television to try to reduce marketing costs and achieve broad exposure, Ayres said.

"We have learned that brick and mortar is not that easy," he said. "Media costs are usually so high that you can't make much money on the product. We found out that we don't have $50 million to put into a retail brick-and-mortar campaign for this product. If we eventually want to enter brick and mortar with strength, DRTV is an excellent way to do so."

Ayres said that the DRTV campaign will let Nova Pharmaceutical build a database of consumers interested in weight loss through continuity programs, which will assist in further marketing.

Nova Pharmaceutical looks to debut a 30-minute infomercial for NxTrim System 3 by late June. NxTrim System 3 is a tablet- and capsule-based product consisting of herbs, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and anti-oxidants.

The infomercial will market a one-month supply of the system through 15 user testimonials and expert physician research, Ayres said.

"We are not using celebrity endorsement because the physical transformation caused by the product is so compelling that we don't need star power," he said.

The infomercial will direct consumers to a toll-free number to buy the product, which is expected to cost $70 to $100. After the company tracks initial results, it plans to start a Web site to coincide with the campaign, Ayres said.

The system will include a 48-page Healthy Living Guide detailing diet plans and exercise regimens. The company is developing weight-loss-related upsells for the product, Ayres said, and customer service representatives will pitch continuity programs for the product.

Though Nova Pharmaceutical is primarily targeting women ages 25 to 55, Ayres said the infomercial will include testimonials ranging from 18-year-old women to 40-year-old men.

Script to Screen, Santa Ana, CA, is producing and scripting the infomercial, Ayres said. Nova Pharmaceutical is in the process of selecting a media placement firm and fulfillment company.

"We chose Script to Screen because they are very well spoken amongst their peers," Ayres said.

Joan Rathmann, vice president of project management at Script to Screen, did not return calls for comment.

The projected budget for the NxTrim System 3 campaign is roughly $500,000, Ayres said. The company is in discussions with undisclosed venture capital firms to secure funding. Nova Pharmaceutical plans eventually to expand the product to retail based on the result of the DRTV campaign. Ayres would not disclose sales goals for the campaign. If the campaign succeeds, the company plans similar DRTV efforts for its other existing products.


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