BLOCKBUSTER REACHES OUT TO INACTIVE RENTERS

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Blockbuster Video is putting increased emphasis on database marketing-to the tune of $20 million this year.

Much of that spending will go into an effort to revive inactive cardholders, the largest database marketing project Blockbuster has ever undertaken, said Ted Innes, VP-marketing. Blockbuster in January began "a massive effort" to reach those who had stopped renting in recent months, he said.

Working with Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York, whose sister shop Young & Rubicam won the $140 million video account in January, Blockbuster began researching its database of members last year in hopes of identifying cardholders who had stopped renting.

The company then deleted from its database of 60 million members those who had duplicate memberships at other Blockbuster locations, Mr. Innes said.

Next, Blockbuster barraged targeted members with information on promotions, new releases and coupons for 2-for-1 rentals. Market testing showed company executives the effort would be well-received, especially with the promotional offer, he said.

DOUBLE-DIGIT RESPONSE

Historically, Blockbuster has experienced double-digit response rates to its database and direct marketing efforts, Mr. Innes noted. That compares with low single-digit responses for traditional marketers.

News of the effort comes as Blockbuster launches its first TV spots from Y&R. The "Definitions" campaign uses humor to redefine the video rental industry (see "The Big Push" on Page 48). The ads will be supported by similar radio spots, and heavy in-store and direct mail merchandising from Wunderman's Chicago office. A Spanish-language effort likely will break by summer via Y&R sister agency Bravo Group, New York.

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