DRTV Effort Gets Canadian Ingredients

A Canadian DRTV agency is preparing to roll out a successful U.S. campaign for a KitchenAid brand appliance in Canada.

The 30-minute infomercial, originally filmed by Respond2, Portland, OR, was set to complete its six weeks of testing in the Canadian market by the end of October. Channel 500, Toronto, is hoping for a full launch of the show by Christmas and is betting that by tweaking the existing infomercial to suit Canadian tastes, the agency can get good results and save money on production.

“We realized that there were a lot of high production values in the one produced for the U.S. market,” said Rod Bell, president of Channel 500. “We thought to ourselves, 'Why don't we leverage that?'”

Saving money on production is important to Channel 500 because it aims to have the infomercial generate revenue equal to the cost of production. Doing so ensures that KitchenAid gets a TV commercial that pays for itself and drives retail sales, Bell said.

The product, the Artisan Series Stand Mixer, has been offered in testing for $449 Canadian, about $290 U.S. The mixer is offered with a free pasta-maker attachment valued at $179 Canadian.

In Canada, infomercials are perceived as an American phenomenon, which can be a turnoff to some Canadian consumers, Bell said. To compensate, Channel 500 replaced testimonials given by U.S. consumers with several given by Canadians to present testimonials given in an accent Canadians recognize.

“Even though we all speak English, it's very noticeable,” he said. “Another difference is that in our market there is a tendency to be more receptive to a less hard sell than in America.”

Channel 500 also removed references to American icons and locations. In parts of the U.S. infomercial, a chef from a famous restaurant in Boston is used in an expert testimonial. Channel 500 deleted references to Boston and the restaurant because its relevance would be absent for Canadian consumers.

“It makes it seem too American,” Bell said of the removed material. “It's not Canadian enough.”

In addition, Channel 500 chose a call center in Canada to handle response for the campaign and used a Web site, KitchenAid.ca, adapted for a Canadian audience.

The infomercial is running on cable, broadcast and satellite television in Canada nationwide, but with a focus on British Columbia, Alberta, English-speaking regions in Quebec and especially Ontario. Ontario is Canada's most populous province.

Channel 500's target demographic is women ages 30 to 55. Weekend daytime slots have produced the best sales, followed by weekday early evenings and weekday days, Bell said.

Upsells include a slicer/shredder for $87 Canadian and a food grinder for $79 Canadian. The most popular upsell has been the most expensive, a combination slicer/grinder/strainer for $219 Canadian.

“It's not so much that it's the most expensive one, it's the one that does the most things — is most useful,” he said.

The infomercial urges people to order via toll-free number or by visiting a Web site, which accounted for 30 percent of sales through the first five weeks of testing. Upsell rates on the Web site are 70 percent higher than with orders obtained over the telephone.

“You can visually see upsells on the Web site,” Bell said. “It's a lot harder for a person on the phone to describe these accessories.”

Though Canadian and U.S. consumers differ in many ways, they have a shared value for cooking as an integral part of their heritage. Both the American and Canadian versions of the show feature strong appeals to family and tradition.

“It's culturally important to Americans and Canadians, breaking bread and cooking in the kitchen with your mother and grandmother,” Bell said.

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