New Age Sports Watch Gets Long-Form

Physi-Cal Enterprises Inc.'s launch of an infomercial later this month to promote its hi-tech Mio sports watch seeks to take advantage of long-form television advertising's strengths in selling complex products directly to consumers.

Designed by direct response agency Respond2, Portland, OR, the half-hour, testimonial-laden infomercial gets a two-week test on national broadcast and cable stations in late October. It primarily targets fitness-conscious women.

Respond2 will test a variety of time slots but will focus on morning and weekend afternoon slots to try to reach more women. While the company revealed that advertising would be split evenly between broadcast and cable, it did not disclose the channels on which the infomercial would run.

The $139 Mio sports watch measures the wearer's heart rate and keeps track of calorie burn without the chest strap similar products normally require. The Mio will be positioned as easier to use than competing products, said Timothy O'Leary, president of Respond2.

Parts of the infomercial shot at the Respond2 studio feature a set with a hi-tech look, replete with chrome colors and oval shapes in a style reminiscent of the watch design. Two actresses host the show, a further appeal to female consumers.

Women give most of the testimonials, which were shot outdoors on location in Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia. Some testimony is given by a senior male in an appeal to older people who could use the watch for heart monitoring, which could be important to those who have suffered cardiac problems.

A celebrity featured in the infomercial is Deepak Chopra, a New Age author and speaker. Chopra uses the watch and provides testimony in several brief appearances.

Chopra, who founded the Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, CA, is a medical doctor and pioneer in alternative medicine whose large following and credibility helped boost product claims made in the infomercial, O'Leary said. Chopra's testimony was a last-minute addition after Chopra himself volunteered to participate.

The Mio has been available by retail in several fitness and gadget stores such as The Sharper Image for about a year. Doing an infomercial on a product already on the market meant there were plenty of success stories, providing fodder for testimonials.

“We found a lot of interesting stories,” O'Leary said. “We had a lot of people who had lost a lot of weight.”

Viewers can order by calling an 800 number or visiting a Web site, whose address will be displayed during the infomercial.

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