Discovery Travel, offering trips to locales as exotic as those on the company's cable TV programming, is a joint venture with national travel agency Rosenbluth International (AA, Nov. 16).
"We've put together trips tied either directly to the programming or with a programming theme," said Neal Lieberman, director of business development for Discovery Enterprises. "We're banking on the fact that we're known as experts in exploring the world."
The advertising is themed "Don't just watch it. Live it." Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York, handles direct response TV, print, direct mail and fulfillment management for the new service.
Two 30-second direct response TV spots -- running on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Learning Channel and Travel Channel cable networks as well as a handful of digital networks -- entice the viewer with snippets of scenery from around the world. Voice-over promises "Your chance to live a Discovery experience of your own."
The commercials and print ads encourage viewers to call an 800-number. Consumers who call the toll-free number answer a series of questions that will determine a customized package of possible itineraries based on their responses.
Direct mail drops this week to an initial 500,000 potential customers, and the Discovery Web site (www.discovery.com) will promote the new service. Also, Discovery's 120 retail stores will display information about Discovery Travel.
The direct mail is being sent to Discovery's database as well as outside lists. More than 1 million pieces of mail will go out in the next 12 months.
Follow-up mail will go to those who answer the questionnaire, and they also will be contacted by phone in an attempt to convert them into trip purchasers.
"We'll do outbound telemarketing with Discovery's travel representatives to help in the planning process, and we'll use direct mail as follow-up," said Susan Green, senior VP-account director at Rapp Collins.
If all goes well, Discovery envisions affinity and club programs as well as