Infomercial Will Show LenSoClean to Consumers

AlphaVista Inc. aims to break open the consumer market for its LenSoClean ultrasonic contact lens cleaning kit with an infomercial scheduled to test-launch in mid-October.

LenSoClean is a contact lens cleaning system that sends 63,000 ultrasonic vibrations per second to a stainless steel storage case, where the lenses are kept in a solution, to remove dirt and other pollutants. AlphaVista, Novata, CA, which began marketing LenSoClean in 1997, previously sent free samples to 30,000 optometrists nationwide, following up the samples with telemarketing calls, in its first effort to introduce the product to consumers.

Also, AlphaVista tested the product in 42 Wal-Mart Vision Centers. However, the company found that persuading retail stores to carry a new product proved difficult.

Though sampling helped educate optometrists, it couldn't turn them into effective salespeople for the product. Besides that, giving away the product “wasn't in our business model,” said Helmut Weber, CEO/founder of AlphaVista.

Weber said he decided on infomercials to try to educate consumers and sell the product while also building the LenSoClean brand.

Shooting was slated to begin the week of Sept. 9. The infomercial will include an offer of $59.85 for the cleaning kit, a one-month supply of LenSoClean solution, a 12-volt car adapter and a 110-volt AC/DC adapter to power the device.

AlphaVista's Boca Raton, FL-based production company, Infoworx, has recruited several eye experts along with about 12 users of the product to provide testimony for the show. The choice of a testimonial- and expert-heavy infomercial reflects Infoworx's belief that the product is complex and needs to be thoroughly explained to consumer audiences, said Ron Perlstein, CEO/founder of Infoworx.

Also for that reason, the producers decided that the 30-minute format would best suit LenSoClean, even though the product's price point is low enough that short-form DRTV normally would be the preferred option.

“The product needs a lot of time to explain its benefits,” Weber said. “You can't do that in a 30-second or in a two-minute spot.”

Infoworx will incorporate several demonstrations into the program aimed at showing how dust, makeup, pollen and other pollutants build up in contact lenses, even if wearers use disposables that are replaced every few weeks. Animations are also planned to illustrate the science behind LenSoClean.

“Only through animations can we show 63,000 microscopic bubbles,” Perlstein said.

Infoworx will conduct market research to determine whether any other contact lens cleaning products have been marketed via infomercial and, if so, which cable channels and broadcast networks produced the greatest response. If no similar products are found, Infoworx will model its media buying strategy on related merchandise, which might include dental products, Perlstein said.

The October tests will be conducted on smaller national cable networks. However, unless the tests are spectacularly successful, full rollout will be delayed until first-quarter 2003 because, as a non-gift item, LenSoClean is unlikely to have successful sales in the holiday shopping season, Perlstein said.

Perlstein said he is pitching LenSoClean to home-shopping networks and hopes to roll out the full campaign at the same time the networks begin offering the product.

Infoworx formerly operated under the name Concept Media. The name was changed to show the company's shift from a product focus to a full-service infomercial firm providing production, media, fulfillment and teleservices.

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