Bell Atlantic Corp.'s Bell Atlantic Video Services
(BAV) earlier this month began airing the first television spot promoting its resale of
DirecTV Inc.'s direct-broadcast satellite service.
Part of an aggressive $4 million marketing campaign backed
by outdoor advertising, radio and direct mail, the 60-second ads were tailored to promote
DirecTV's current free-installation and free-programming offer.
"We wanted to capitalize on the DirecTV offer already
in the marketplace," said Tony Price, vice president of marketing for BAV, when asked
about the timing of the division's first TV ads. "We wanted to wrap our
marketing message around their already great offer."
Price would not say whether DirecTV was supplying BAV with
co-op advertising funds for the campaign.
DirecTV's free-professional-installation offer runs
through April 25. BAV will continue to run the current TV and radio spots -- which feature
the voice of James Earl Jones -- through June.
BAV is targeting cable-television households, as well as
homes that are not passed by cable, in Philadelphia; Baltimore; the Washington, D.C.,
metropolitan area; and parts of New Jersey.
The company has dubbed the new spot "Driver's
Seat." It focuses on a new subscriber test-driving a larger-than-life DirecTV
Price called the interactive programming guide one of the
differentiators in BAV's DirecTV service when compared with typical cable offerings.
BAV's outdoor ads -- in the form of billboards and bus
signs -- urge would-be DBS subscribers to "Get It Now."
The ads in BAV's current campaign encourage potential
customers to call a toll-free number or to visit a Web site. Customer-service agents try
to close the sale when consumers call in. Those who don't sign up immediately can
request free consumer guides to DirecTV.
Price said BAV is always looking at joint marketing
opportunities with other parts of Bell Atlantic, adding that such an announcement was
likely in the "not-too-distant future."