Interactive TV Ad Breaks New Ground

Toll-free numbers changed marketing concepts dramatically. Now, a co-op of Myrtle Beach businesses has added another twist with a national TV commercial that dials its 800-number automatically.

Interested viewers need only to hold their telephone receivers within earshot of the TV to be connected with a Myrtle Beach representative.

The special process, which is proprietary, works through the touch-tone signals heard on the commercial. "We wanted a way to stand out in today's busy market and also be user-friendly," says Rik Dickinson of Encore Video Productions, who developed the technique and produced the commercial. "Although the concept is simple, it did take some technical research to make it workable," adds Mr. Dickinson. "And judging from the early response, it is definitely working."

In its first full day of air time, the commercial generated 1,200 requests for information. More that $250,000 was spent to produce and air the interactive advertisement.

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