Warner wields infomercial to showcase Bogart videos

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Movie buffs eager to own Warner Home Video's latest release of Bogie flicks won't have to wait until the 18-film collection goes on sale next month.

A 30-minute infomercial promoting Warner's release of the Humphrey Bogart Collection and offering a special sale of Bogart & Bacall, a separate video series, begins testing in top 10 markets and on national cable networks next week.

The infomercial, featuring E! Entertainment Television host Suzanne Sena, takes place primarily in the Warner Museum and includes snippets from a new "Bacall on Bogart" documentary featuring Mr. Bogart's leading lady and wife, Lauren Bacall.

"We wanted the feel to be something that was entertaining and selling the product at the same time," said Renee Hill, VP-client services for the spot's producer, Century Direct, Santa Monica, Calif.

Viewers will be given the opportunity to buy the four-volume boxed set of the only films Mr. Bogart and Ms. Bacall starred in together: "The Big Sleep," "Dark Passage," "Key Largo" and "To Have & Have Not." The new documentary and a special-edition copy of "Casablanca" are included free as part of the purchase.

This is the second time Warner has used long-form direct response TV for a national video campaign, said Mike Saksa, VP-marketing. In 1998, a collection of "Lethal Weapon" movies was highlighted by Danny Glover right before the release of "Lethal Weapon 4."

In the past five years, movie studios have begun to discover direct response TV as a good way to sell collections of older films and to drive retail sales, Mr. Saksa said.

"Retailers at first thought [DRTV] was competing with their retail operation when in fact it actually enhances their sales," he said, citing research that shows for every direct response order of a product there are seven sales in retail outlets. "With the success of direct response, it enables us to get the awareness of our deep catalog titles in front of the consumer."

The Bogart infomercial, which also directs consumers to a special Web site established for the collection (bogartfilms.com), will run at least through March.

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