HSN TV Ad Campaign Sells Anticipation

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HSN-formerly Home Shopping Network-said last week that it will launch a comprehensive $30 million national ad campaign to strengthen its brand positioning.

Under the tagline "Only on HSN," the USA Networks Inc.-owned service will highlight exclusive product lines available only via the network or its Web site, HSN.com.

The company shortened its Home Shopping Network name because the phrase "was almost becoming a generic," HSN executive vice president of marketing Paul Guyardo said. The shorter moniker gives the brand a lift while retaining the equity the name has built over the years, he added.

Five spots were initially created for the campaign. Each of the 15-second ads features a giant shipping box that opens up to reveal both an HSN product and a satisfied shopper.

In one spot, a football fan is found with his official National Football League Helmet Grill, an HSN exclusive. He catches his steak as if it were a football. A voiceover intones that with every purchase, "you'll get a rush of adrenaline, absolutely free."

Other spots promote exclusives such as theMarie ClaireR2R fashion collection, Susan Lucci hair-care products, Wolfgang Puck cookware or Suzanne Somers fitness equipment.

"The fourth quarter is a very important time for us, as it is for all retailers," Guyardo said when asked about the effort's timing. "We have very aggressive sales numbers to meet this year. We're up against record numbers from last year."

HSN's primary goal "is clearly to attract new customers," he added.

Focus groups helped HSN decide to make the large box the centerpiece of its new television ads, after customers said the thrill of shopping doesn't stop once they hang up the phone.

"Anticipation builds until the box arrives," Guyardo said, and continues as shoppers try on their new outfit or use their new camcorder for the first time. "That's indicative of our form of retailing."

The NFL Shop merchandise spots will be backed by print ads inPeople,TV GuideandNFL Insider.

The HSN TV campaign is set to run through 2001

Rival QVC, a Comcast Corp. holding, does not plan to counter HSN's campaign with one of its own, although affiliates do advertise the network on cross-channel spots, QVC vice president of merchandising and brand development Doug Rose said.

"We believe our business is built on trust, and advertising is not as effective in building trust as is customer service," Rose said.

QVC's U.K. business, however, recently launched what Rose called "a bold and splashy ad campaign. In the U.S., we're very curious to see the results."

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