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Requests Spark Sales of 'Carson' Infomercial

Respond2's 30-minute infomercial for “The Carson Collection” of “The Tonight Show” episodes has become a big seller on its own.

Respond2, Portland, OR, began getting requests for the infomercial from consumers shortly after it began airing in November. The company tested upsells of the 30-minute tape in limited media markets in December. It sold more than 1,000 copies and had a 15 percent conversion rate, prompting the company to roll out the upsell effort nationally this month.

“Within a few weeks of the launch of the infomercial, our telemarketing people were telling us that customers were requesting the infomercial video,” said Steve Podielsky, director of marketing at Cmedia, Portland, the sister company of Respond2 that handled media placement. “The infomercial was so popular because it is so funny and well put together.”

Podielsky said that while Respond2 wants to rethink some of its other ads to achieve a similar response, the success of “The Carson Collection” resulted largely from the sentimental and comical nature of the Johnny Carson footage.

The infomercial features clips from the four tapes in the collection. The retail version of the infomercial includes 10 extra minutes of “Tonight Show” clips and does not contain its call-to-action segment. The tape costs $5.99 when sold with “The Carson Collection” by phone or online at www.johnnycarson.com. It is also available for purchase alone through the Web site for $9.99.

Customer service representatives also upsell the Club Carson Collection, a monthly continuity program of videotapes; The Comedians, a collection of comedy routines on the late-night program from celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld and Drew Carey; and Favorite Episodes 5/21/92, the last episode, which featured Robin Williams and Bette Midler. Thirty-five percent of buyers purchased The Comedians or the Favorite Episodes upsell.

Respond2 is responsible for producing and scripting the ad and manufacturing and distributing the product. Moulton Logistics, North Hollywood, CA, handled all fulfillment for the campaign.

Respond2 is producing a short-form version of the ad, though Podielsky said it is too soon to specify debut dates.

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