Arnold’s Sneak Preview

Spots Tease Rollout of Digital Video Product
BOSTON–Arnold Communications compares the launch of digital movie rental technology Divx to the invention of the automobile, the computer and the airplane in three teaser commercials that broke last week.
One 15-second spot opens with a quote superimposed over the face of a horse. Attributed to Henry Ford’s banker in 1903, the quote reads, “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a fad.” A voiceover says, “Sometimes the biggest ideas are the hardest to grasp.” The camera pulls back to reveal a mounted police officer on a median amid a sea of traffic.
Another in the series features a quote from Lord Kelvin of the Royal Society in 1895: “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” A jet then breaks through the type.
The third features Popular Mechanics’ 1949 prediction that computers of the future would weigh “no more than 1.5 tons.”
The spots flag the June 10 launch of Divx at Circuit City (which is underwriting the technology) and The Good Guys!, and close with a toll-free phone number. Divx is positioned with the tagline, “The best way to watch movies at home.” The work first aired in Richmond, Va., and San Francisco.
The campaign is a precursor to an estimated $100 million-plus national ad blitz set to roll out in August.
Divx allows consumers to check out an encrypted movie from a video rental store for about $5. A free two-day viewing period begins when the disk is played. Customers keep the movie and are billed electronically via modem each time they watch it after the initial free period.
Arnold in Boston has signed actor David Foley from the NBC sitcom NewsRadio to appear in commercials this summer, sources said. Agency and client representatives would neither confirm nor deny Foley’s involvement. Actor John Cleese was also considered for a role in the spots, a source said.
The upcoming campaign is expected to address common problems that consumers have with current cable and satellite pay-per-view or video rental arrangements. Spots will highlight the benefits of Divx, such as low price, never having to return disks to the store and the ability to stop and start movies at will.
Client representative Josh Dare declined comment. Sources cautioned that the upcoming spots are subject to change. Divx is manufactured by Digital Video Express in Richmond.