Commercials on Cablevision Let Viewers Opt in to Receive Online Communication

These TV Ads Comes Bearing, or at Least Offering, Email

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Most TV ads ask viewers to visit the web after the commercial is over. But Cablevision is adding a new wrinkle: a TV ad that delivers part of the web to you.

Cablevision is offering marketers the chance to email viewers who see their commercials and use their remote controls to ask for more information. Marketers can email the viewer product information, a coupon or an e-brochure, said David Kline, president-chief operating officer, Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp, the ad-sales organization for both Rainbow Media and Cablevision.

The offer follows several other TV-advertising developments that change TV commercials from weapons of mass seduction to promotional tools that solicit the most granular information from viewers. Already, Cablevision subscribers have been able to request a phone call from employees of Walt Disney Co. to help plan a trip to one of the entertainment company's vacation parks. Canoe Ventures, a consortium backed by the nation's top cable systems, has also developed ads that allow cable viewers to use the remote to request additional information.

The idea, said Mr. Kline, is "tapping budgets we normally don't tap," specifically ad dollars allocated to direct marketing.

Cablevision has already run ads from Royal Caribbean that allowed viewers to request information about a special "two for one" package as well as how to sign up for a rewards program. The ads typically air in the two minutes of ad time allocated each hour to the cable system distributing the programming, and include a graphical overlay telling viewers they can use the "select" button on a remote to receive more information via email.

Lincoln, Benjamin Moore and Adirondack Regional Tourism have plans to deploy similar email-request campaigns shortly, Cablevision said.

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