Magazine article Marketing

Alliance & Leicester Joins the Video Gang

Magazine article Marketing

Alliance & Leicester Joins the Video Gang

Article excerpt

Alliance & Leicester has become the latest heavy direct mail user to test videos as a substitute for conventional mailshots.

The building society is running 50,000 videos against the same number of printed mail packs.

Alliance first considered videos "many years ago" but rejected them because they seemed "too new".

Campaign manager Lisa Whyte says video "is certainly more expensive but it has a high perceived value which means it is more likely to be looked at".

The specially-produced videos come from Technicolor Video Services UK, a subsidiary of Carlton Communications. They've been promoted for some time under the VideoMail brand, billed as a "specially designed direct marketing product" and a "refreshing, new and more effective medium", but now there's evidence that they're breaking through to the mass market.

What is special about VideoMail is not so much the physical object -- a boring looking video cassette -- as the financial package surrounding it.

Video grabbing potential

TVS claims to be able to mail out a video for under a pound -- the average cost of traditional direct mail is around 45p. But unlike print-based DM, video gives you "the attention-grabbing potential of on-screen production".

TVS, which is now running its second new business campaign (using, of course, VideoMail), claims to have mailed Out videos for 250-300 UK companies over the past three years.

The average mailshot is 25,000-50,000 videos, but the volume has gone as high as 750,000 (Barclaycard) and 850,000 (Direct Line). TVS's minimum mailing is 1000 videos.

TVS sales and marketing manager Matt Cannon says the reason the cost of mailing videos is so (relatively) low is that the company has developed a lightweight video shell weighing just 119 grams, compared with the usual 145 grams. It is also making better use of its buying power.

Cannon estimates the value of the video mail market at 9m[pounds] and predicts continued strong growth. The UK, he says, still has a lot of catching up to do with the US, where video mail is "absolutely massive".

Of course, the cost of mailing a video doesn't include the cost of producing it. But Cannon says TVS's clients are not all big spenders: for some it's merely a case of re-editing existing footage. …

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