Captivate Looks to Lift Awareness With Aggressive Mail Effort

Captivate is utilizing an aggressive direct mail campaign in which it is targeting its prospects by sending them four different postcard mailers in less than two-and-a-half weeks.

Captivate, Westford, MA, is a media company that delivers news content along with local and national advertising over the Web via a wireless technology network in high-rise office buildings nationwide. It has screens operating in more than 600 buildings and works with advertisers such as Dunkin' Donuts and MCI.

“People may see our product only once and think that it's located in just that one building,” said Nancy Jackson, vice president of marketing and programming at Captivate. “And by mailing people more than once, it not only helps us to establish our brand with them, but conveys to them that it's located in more than just one place.”

Captivate's goal is to have its screens in more than 1,000 buildings — which it estimates will result in 3 million to 4 million people seeing them each day, resulting in more than 100 million ad impressions every day — within the next couple of years.

The campaign started Nov. 14 and will continue until the first week of December. The company will send more than 44,000 direct mail pieces to potential clients, which include major advertising agencies and their clients as well as managers of buildings with more than 20 stories in 30 major cities.

The advertising agencies were compiled from a list provided by Advertising Age and also included names taken from the Red Book of Advertising. The list compiled for the mailing to building managers was compiled from a national database of managers.

The four postcard mailers were designed to target presidents of advertising agencies and the inhouse marketing directors of potential advertisers. According to Kelly Harrigan, marketing manager at Captivate, the postcards were designed to convey two themes.

“The first thing we wanted these prospects to understand [is] that we could deliver a select demographic when they are close to their computers,” Harrigan said. “The second idea was to show them that we could provide them [advertisers] the opportunity to reach these people when they weren't doing or watching anything else.”

It used headlines on the postcards such as, “To reach business professionals where they live, it helps to be where they work.” Another headline read, “It's not every day people stand in line to see your ad. Well, actually, it is.”

The back of the postcards contains an image of what a Captivate screen looks like inside an elevator. This is followed by text that mentions the number of buildings in which the Captivate network is being used, the number of business professionals who will see them, and how many ad impressions that translates into in one day.

Viewers are asked to call a toll-free number or visit the company's Web site.

Four other postcards are being used to target building managers. Aside from the headline on the front, the coloring, the image on the back and the accompanying text are identical to the postcards mailed to the ad agencies and advertisers.

Captivate wanted to show building managers how much their tenants would enjoy seeing a Captivate monitor in their elevator and that they would not object to it. One of the headlines from the manager mailings reads, “Tenants who used to say 'It's too hot in my office' now say 'I love that Captivate screen, and it's too hot in my office.' “

It also shows managers how widely accepted the network is becoming by providing a list of some of the properties and office buildings that are using it.

According to Jackson, Captivate used the metallic bronze lettering on the front of the postcards because of its similarity to the coloring and numbering inside an elevator.

Harrigan said the cost of the campaign was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and that it was too early to tell what kind of response the postcards were generating.

Captivate worked with advertising agency Fort Franklin, Boston, to develop the collateral for the campaign.

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