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Bausch & Lomb, Rochester, N.Y., sent one of two mailings to 4,000 eye doctors, inviting them to take a "challenge" by comparing its SeeQuence and Medalist disposable contact lenses to competitive brands. Doctors were targeted based on knowledge of their most-prescribed brands, and additional practitioners were offered the challenge through Bausch & Lomb's sales force. One self-mailer box announced: "We've finally put our finger on the problem with some disposable contacts." Inside were packages containing a SeeQuence 2 lens and a Johnson & Johnson Acuvue, and doctors were urged to "pick up both of these contacts right now and compare [the] handling performance" of Bausch & Lomb's brand to the "flimsy competitive lens." (A separate mailing took aim at Ciba-Geigy Corp.'s Focus lenses). Doctors who ordered Bausch & Lomb's lenses were offered a 25% rebate or a money-back guarantee if their patients weren't happy. ICE Inc. handled the mailing, which together with the sales force activity generated $1 million in manufacturer sales since it began last February. "We've rated the entire program as a huge success," said Scott Thomas, product manager. Creative credits: Mike Fountain, creative director; Kurt Jaeckel, creative supervisor; David Phelps, art director; and Rob Wojtowicz, copywriter.

AT&T Universal Card, Jacksonville, Fla., in late April upped the ante in the credit card wars. Until then, a variety of rebates and other gimmicks rewarded cardholders based on how much they spent, regardless of whether they paid off their bills in full each month. (Card marketers prefer those who don't, because they make money on interest charges). AT&T's two-year "Something Extra" program instead awards points based on outstanding balances carried each month, and redeems them for a wide variety of discounts and freebies, including airline tickets, long-distance calls, video rentals, $1,200 off a new Honda and a reduced interest rate. Although AT&T has nearly 12 million accounts, the mailing targeted only its 9 million active users. Although enrollment is required, true response to the offer will be judged by incremental charge volume during the year. Creative credits at agency Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, Boston, go to Nancy Harhut, VP-creative director; Margaret Hart, senior art director; and Laura Walsh, senior copywriter.

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