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Respond2 Hopes Memories of Bob Spark Video Sales

Trying to recapture the success of its direct response television efforts for the Johnny Carson video series, Respond2 began showing a 30-minute infomercial this month to market the five-video series “The Best of Bob Hope — Thanks for the Memories.”

Respond2 is spending $100,000 per week on media, 80 percent of which is running on weekend afternoons, and placing its spots on national broadcast and cable stations.

Respond2's infomercial offers a video five-pack of the best of Bob Hope's comedy for $49.99. A continuity program called “The Bob Hope Club,” upsold with the main package, offers two additional videos every six to eight weeks for $19.99 a month.

The series is only available in VHS format, but Respond2 expects to release a DVD version in the first quarter of next year. Additionally, Respond2 plans to release 60-second and 120-second DRTV spots in January or February.

The infomercial traces the life story of Bob Hope and includes film and video footage of the comedian through 1995. It features the many celebrity guests and friends who appeared on Hope's television specials over five decades.

“It's sort of sequential, kind of documentary in nature,” said Tim O'Leary, CEO of Respond2, Portland, OR. “You can see Sinatra in his 20s and Sinatra in his 80s.”

In addition to its DRTV marketing, Respond2 is trying out the video series online. The offer of the five-video collection is available at Hope's official Web site.

O'Leary declined to reveal details of the campaign's results. However, he said sales have been particularly good on the Web and for the continuity program upsell.

“The Web site is a huge area for us now,” O'Leary said. “We're hoping to build Bob that way.”

The DRTV agency is in the process of identifying pockets of the nation where time on broadcast television stations is particularly effective, O'Leary said. On national cable, infomercials run on A&E have been particularly effective.

Respond2 is banking on the possibility that the Bob Hope video series will generate the same level of interest as “The Carson Collection,” a series featuring the best of Johnny Carson's tenure as host of “The Tonight Show.” That campaign, which launched in November 2000, also featured a 30-minute infomercial for a video series and an upsell for a continuity program.

The Carson campaign drew so much interest, Respond2 repackaged the infomercial itself as a product. The infomercial was upsold for $5.99 with “The Carson Collection” and sold more than 1,000 copies with a 15 percent conversion rate.

Short-form DRTV campaigns have been tried in the past on Hope video products with other agencies, O'Leary said. However, inspired by the success of its Johnny Carson campaigns, Respond2 decided to give the long-form approach a try instead.

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