Columbia House Latin DVD club tests Latino waters

This July, Columbia House will send nearly one million direct mail solicitations promoting their Latin DVD club. “We want to get a feel for how big the club can be and will make a final decision in the fall,” says Pablo Olay, who is leading the efforts to build the Latin DVD club at Columbia House. Although package inserts will not be part of the upcoming campaign, Olay says he plans to use them in the future. “We've had good results with inserts in bill statements, particularly for utilities and credit cards,” says Olay.

Last October, Columbia House did a 500,000 test drop using third party lists. It followed the direct mail campaign with telemarketing calls to current Club Musica Latina members. The telemarketing effort yielded good results, and the direct mail did well enough to merit another test. The July mailing will include both former and active CML members.

Columbia House's October mailing was translated from its English control package (Columbia House's general market DVD club has 4 million members). Calls to action were written in Spanish and translated into English using a smaller font. “One of the things we learned from the music club is that people prefer to receive a bilingual package,” said Olay. Columbia House also tested different payment options, including prepaid (sending the money in advance) and open (bill me later). The “bill me later” version got better results. The October solicitation divided Columbia House DVDs (approximately 300 movies) into Spanish and English titles. “There was higher demand for titles that were available in Spanish. However, many of the children's movies were available in English only and there was a high demand for those too.” Olay says that when it comes to DVD selection, Latinos aren't that different from the general market. “Latin music club members buy Latino products, but when it comes to DVDs, club members seem to want the top general market titles, but in Spanish.” According to Olay, the test results also suggest that some Hispanics want content from their home countries.

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