Retired Baseball Star Promotes Hair Clinic

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A national hair restoration clinic with an infomercial in its 10th year has turned to a retired Major League Baseball star to provide a guest user testimonial.

Wade Boggs, a likely future Hall of Famer, appeared in a 30-minute infomercial launched the last week of September for Medical Hair Restoration, Maitland, FL. The clinic, which operates 40 locations in most major U.S. markets, provides hair restoration services including prescription medications that promote hair regrowth and the aesthetic surgical procedure known as hair transplantation.

Unlike many infomercial marketers, Medical Hair Restoration does not pay celebrities to provide a product endorsement. Boggs came to the company for services and agreed to the clinic's request for a taped testimonial, said John Scott, vice president of marketing for Medical Hair Restoration.

"He's not a paid spokesman," Scott said. "He's just another one of our patients."

The clinic doesn't pay celebrities to appear in its infomercials, Scott said. Because it offers medical services, the clinic is limited by stricter ethical concerns in its marketing.

The new infomercial is Boggs' second appearance promoting Medical Hair Restoration. The first came nine months ago in an infomercial filmed just after he first underwent treatment. That segment showed Boggs explaining his experience with the hair transplantation procedure. The more recent segment showed him explaining the hair regrowth he has experienced as a result of the operation. Transplanted hair typically takes nine months to fully grow in, Scott said.

Medical Hair Restoration has used other sports figures in its infomercials, including Major League umpire John Shulock. The company's target demographic is men ages 25 to 54, so it airs infomercials on national cable and broadcast channels on weekends and holidays in time slots near news and sports shows.

The infomercial offers a free video and booklet providing information about the transplantation procedure. The clinic uses address verification software from Melissa Data, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, to check addresses given by consumers before the packages are shipped. While it costs Medical Hair Restoration $3 to $4 to ship the video and booklet packages, it costs the company $5 to $6 if they are returned, Scott said.

Along with long-form infomercials, which represent about 60 percent of its monthly media spending, Medical Hair Restoration runs short-form spots. The shows generate 8,000 to 10,000 leads monthly, which the company follows up with further mailings, he said.

About 400 new patients enter the clinic each month, Scott said. The overall cost of the transplantation procedure averages around $10,000 per patient.

"An infomercial is a perfect vehicle for what we're trying to do," he said. "Our offer is for education. The education that takes place is primarily about hair transplantation, which is kind of a complicated subject."

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