'Dr. Dolittle 2' Promoters Go Offline to Boost Web Site

20th Century Fox has partnered with a handful of traditional marketing companies, including coupon mailer Val-Pak, to create online buzz for its upcoming movie “Dr. Dolittle 2.”

Val-Pak will begin mailing 60 million of its traditional blue envelopes today with contents meant to brand the movie and drive recipients to www.drdolittle2.com. While the movie, starring Eddie Murphy, will be released nationwide June 22, the mailing will go out in numerous drops through the end of next month.

The mail piece features a sweepstakes offer with a chance to win one of five trips to tour 20th Century Fox's Hollywood studios. To enter, recipients are encouraged to register at the movie site or at www.valpak.com, or to fill out a registration form and mail it in.

Those who enter the sweepstakes at valpak.com also can win “Dr. Paks,” which include a T-shirt, picture book and poster promoting the movie. Five daily winners will be randomly selected leading up to the film's release.

Half the Val-Pak mailings will hit 50 markets where theaters will be showing sneak previews of “Dr. Dolittle 2” during the next three weeks. These recipients will get four free tickets to the showings. The other half will be sent to Val-Pak's general inhouse list and will not receive tickets.

“For this film, we are targeting anyone who can scrounge up eight-and-a-half bucks to get in,” said Kelly Trudgen, spokeswoman for 20th Century Fox, Los Angeles. “[And] as consumers look to the Web for information and entertainment, it often is one of our more effective ways to reach people on an individual level. We mention the Web site on everything we can.”

Val-Pak, part of Cox Target Media, Largo, FL, also plans an e-mail campaign to 600,000 of its registered consumers that will encourage recipients to click through and sign up for the sweepstakes at its site or the “Dr. Dolittle 2” site.

On June 1, as part of a deal with 20th Century Fox, Carlton Cards and its online arm, Americangreetings.com, will debut a handful of promotions.

Americangreetings.com has created co-branded multimedia e-cards that link to the film's site and feature animals from the movie. The cards will be available at the “Dr. Dolittle 2” site and at www.ag.com.

“We are really going after the animals-on-strike theme and kind of a cute animated mafia depiction as a part of the overall marketing [strategy],” said Lisa Licht, senior vice president of marketing at 20th Century Fox. “The cards are meant to be fun and show people that the movie is for all families.”

Carlton Cards stores will feature 12-foot displays offering a chance to win promotional items for the movie. The displays also will encourage viewers to go to the “Dr. Dolittle 2” Web site, where they can watch several trailers.

Applebee's, a restaurant chain with 1,300 locations, was expected yesterday to introduce a children's meal that includes promotional souvenir cups and activity books for the film.

In another sweepstakes effort, 20th Century Fox has teamed with music retail chain Musicland to offer its customers an opportunity to win promotional items that mention the “Dr. Dolittle 2” Web site.

20th Century Fox also is developing banner ads and additional e-mail campaigns likely to launch next month. A promotions budget was not divulged.

Licht said creative for the campaigns has been difficult because Murphy has a contractual clause that keeps 20th Century Fox from showing his image or likeness. She added that the film and its marketing strategy were a bit rushed because of a potential strike by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists this summer.

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