Shoe Company Turns to DRTV Spots to Run Up Sales

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Power Athletic Footwear hopes to revitalize lagging sales with a 30-minute infomercial scheduled for May promoting its Power Anthro, a 3-year-old athletic shoe.

The company stopped selling the shoe, which has replaceable midsoles, through retail channels and professional podiatry networks about a year ago to prepare for a marketing shift to direct response television.

"We had a tough time at traditional retail. It is difficult to educate the store employees to communicate the technology behind the shoe to consumers," said Steve Libonati, president of Power Athletic Footwear, Santa Monica, CA.

The long-form medium provides Power Athletic Footwear with adequate time to explain the technology behind the shoe and educate consumers, Libonati said. The company hopes not only to spur direct response sales via the infomercial, but ultimately to bring the shoe back to retail outlets.

"If consumers are pre-educated when they walk into the store, they will understand the product," said Gerald Bagg, executive vice president at Century DR, Santa Monica, the company managing the campaign. "While people are not used to buying shoes through TV shows, over the last few years an increasing number of consumers have purchased shoes over the Internet without being able to try them on first."

The infomercial includes product demonstrations, animated descriptions of the replaceable midsole technology and user testimonials. DRTV veteran Tom Jourdan and sports analyst Rebecca Grant will host the program. The show also features testimonials from Jeff Smith, two-time Boston marathon winner, and Matt Centrowitz, track coach at American University and a former Olympic runner.

The infomercial directs consumers to a toll-free number to order the $89.95 shoe, which includes three replacement midsoles.

The company is targeting males and females age 25 and older.

"We are not going after the 18-year-old kid that's way into Nike or Skechers. We're targeting the ex-jock weekend warrior," Libonati said. He would not disclose sales projections associated with the campaign.

Power Athletic Footwear began testing the ad on national cable and local broadcast stations in mid-February. The company is focusing on a mix of sports-oriented networks and general-interest stations. Bagg said Century DR is focusing on late-night and weekend time slots. Libonati would not disclose results of the initial testing.

Century DR is responsible for all media placement and telemarketing, and Pariser Delion, Los Angeles, is responsible for production of the program. Power Athletic Footwear is handling fulfillment inhouse.

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