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Wolfe Communications is helping TV stations lure advertisers by setting up call-in phone lines that cast the stations in the role of direct marketer.

With Wolfe's assistance, WTVT-TV, Tampa, Fla., has given Winn-Dixie Stores the opportunity to run two targeted promotions for area viewers.


Marc Sutherland, marketing director of Winn-Dixie's Tampa division, considered the call-in phone lines a value-added incentive to buy airtime for the supermarket's frozen and low-fat food promotions. Without WTVT's help, Winn-Dixie wouldn't have had the resources to pull off such targeted and integrated promotions.

"When everybody is trying to get into more targeted niche marketing, this is a program that is very turnkey for marketers," Mr. Sutherland said.

San Diego-based Wolfe Communications provides interactive voice response systems for TV stations in 26 markets including Detroit, Milwaukee, and San Francisco.

Wolfe works with local stations to help advertisers identify and target consumers that are interested in specific products and services through call-in promotions. It also collects the data generated through consumers' calls so the marketer can have a future list of prospects.


"Local media can now help advertisers identify real consumers who are interested in specific products and services," said company President David Wolfe.

Winn-Dixie signed on for a second promotion in January after its first effort with WTVT, for October as frozen food month, received 2,527 calls.

For the new year, Winn-Dixie focused on low-fat foods for consumers who resolved to lose weight. The supermarket chain ran spots, created by WTVT, urging consumers to call in and register to win a trip to a spa.

So far, the low-fat promotion has generated more than 2,000 calls. After the effort ends, Winn-Dixie will use the data collected from consumers to run a direct mail follow-up, sending out coupons for low-fat products.

"With this program, we were immediately able to evaluate the effectiveness of the TV commercials because we had quick response from the customers," Mr. Sutherland said.


Several other marketers have signed on with Wolfe via TV stations, including Keebler Co. for a Wheatables crackers promotion endorsing its sponsorship of a Clint Black concert tour.

CKCO-TV, in the Kitchener/London, Ontario, market, won some of Blockbuster Video business with the help of its interactive phone line.

"The interactive phone line opens up a whole new world of marketing for TV stations," said Peter Jackman, general sales manager for CKCO. "We are able to give advertisers more bang for their buck."

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