CASE STUDY;HOW TO HAVE A STAND-OUT CD-ROM MAGAZINE;2WAY MEDIA'S LAUNCH SUCCEEDS WITH QUALITY AND MARKETING STRATEGY

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In a market filled with CD-ROMs on all subjects, the music-and-movies-heavy Launch is a success story. Its first issue, out last May, had 14 advertisers and a press run of 150,000. The second issue, shipping now, boasts 16 advertisers, including Nissan Motor Corp. USA and Toyota Motor Sales USA. It will be bundled with the Sony CD-ROM Discman as well as some computer products.

Launch's success can be attributed to two factors: high production quality and a novel marketing strategy.

Launch's parent, 2Way Media, Santa Monica, Calif., gambled that the disc, priced at $8.99, would sell well not only in computer software stores but also in record stores like Tower Records and Musicland/Sam Goody. The gamble seems to have paid off; Tower stores frequently sold out their stock, said David Goldberg, 2Way CEO.

Launch users spend up to 21/2 hours with the product, according to a survey on the first disc that users had to print out and send in. Users are educated 18-to-34-year-olds with an average income of $65,000, and 65% are male.

Ads are integrated into the content, a strategy some have criticized. But survey respondents said they spent 15 minutes or more with some ads.

Some ads are simply digitized versions of print ads; others, such as the Toyota and Nissan ads, are complete multimedia presentations designed especially for Launch.

Nissan's ad in the second issue, for example, features an animated look at the 200SX's interior as well as a short driving game. Agency Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., worked with Canned Interactive to create the ad.

Launch charges $2,500 per megabyte of space and devotes about 25% to 30% of the disc to advertising.

"You have to be able to attract people to content because they're not being forced into anything," Mr. Goldberg said.

However, one marketer that made a big splash on Launch's first disc, but won't be back for the second: Dewar's Scotch, which used a multifaceted presentation the first time.

"Everybody is trying to experiment in this world and define what it is," said Eric Heneghan, multimedia director at Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, which created the Dewar's ad. He called the Dewar's ad an experiment and said the client is considering returning to future discs.

Launch is refining its marketing strategy. Instead of using TV spots to promote the disc again this time, 2Way plans to tie in with radio stations to promote the disc. 2Way also found that some consumers didn't realize Launch was a CD-ROM, not a music CD, so it will place special display units in music stores.

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