Tyee Euro RSCG Clicks on Wink Technology for DRTV

Television advertising agency Tyee Euro RSCG will use Wink Communications Inc.'s interactive TV enhancements for direct response spots and infomercials created for clients.

Bowflex, a Vancouver, WA, home fitness equipment manufacturer, is the first Tyee Euro RSCG client to sign up. Using Wink's technology, TV viewers will be able to request a brochure and videotape by clicking on a remote control while the spot or infomercial is playing.

“It's another channel of accountability,” said Hugh Allspaugh, vice president of client services at Tyee Euro RSCG, Portland, OR. “I think in this particular instance, with Bowflex, what we hope to get out of this is, are we getting incremental leads through an alternative channel?”

The Wink technology allows viewers to request more information, samples, product videos, coupons and free offers from advertisers as well as to buy while watching the TV show. Viewers do not need a dial-up connection.

“What we're doing is putting on an overlay with the existing video that allows consumers to request that video or brochure by pressing the '1' button on their remote,” said Steve Carmassi, vice president of advertising at Wink, Alameda, CA.

“What that does is, it's increasing the number of inquiries because viewers don't have to write the 800 number, don't have to phone, don't have to wait,” Carmassi said. “So it makes it very simple to request a video.”

Wink has an interface with the advertiser's billing system, which means it already has the name and address of the viewer. Available in more than 3.2 million cable and satellite homes in North America, Wink's technology collects, analyzes and routes viewer behavioral data for better TV campaigns.

Other firms using Wink technology are infomercial makers Guthy Renker, Santa Monica, CA, and Thane International, Palm Springs, CA. Tyee Euro RSCG is Wink's first infomercial agency client that signed up to use this technology.

“We work on a pay-per-inquiry basis,” Carmassi said.

Clients of Tyee Euro RSCG, a 13-year-old agency, include Philips Consumer Electronics, Char-Broil, Verizon, Callaway Golf Co., America Online Inc., Select Comfort, Hewlett-Packard Co. and The Home Depot.

The Wink technology can be particularly helpful in moving high-end items such as the Bowflex machine, which costs $999. Tyee Euro RSCG's Allspaugh is hopeful that the Wink remote solution is more cost-efficient than the telephone.

“There will be people who don't want to speak to a customer service representative but simply just push a button,” Allspaugh said. “Some people just don't like calling a telemarketing company. This Wink test provides a real discreet way to respond. And we hope these are incremental customers.”

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