NEW YORK Howie Mandel, star of NBC's popular Deal or No Deal, has signed a new pact with online aggregate retailer Buy.com in a push to increase holiday sales.
Mandel is set to appear in a series of TV spots as well as in print, online and on radio in a two-year agreement. TV breaks this Friday night via a campaign from Spot Runner, Los Angeles. Buys include Mandel's own Deal or No Deal and numerous college games all weekend on ESPN. Ads on other programs reaching an adult demo are still in negotiation.
According to Jeff Wisot, Buy.com's vp of marketing, Mandel was a natural choice.
"We took a survey and pretty much everyone we spoke to described him as a most likable person," Wisot said. "Plus, he's been familiar to a number of people for years because of his show biz experience, and comes off as warm and with a great sense of humor."
Wisot said when he was first approached, Mandel was very excited and even came up with the concept of the commercial. "He said, 'Why don't we go to a public place, a mall, and ask people what they're looking for?'" The first of the TV spots can be seen at Buy.com's Web site.
Buy.com is currently enjoying a resurgence, posting four consecutive quarters of profitability after a less-than-stellar performance in years past.
"We changed a lot of things in the way we do business," Wisot said. He went on to explain the company went from having zero partners to more than 500 now.
"We built a marketplace in the past year," he said. "We teamed up with sellers who are reputable; customers buy on our site, and our partners ship it."
Buy.com spent $20 million on advertising in 2006, and $8 million from January through August of this year, per TNS Media Intelligence. Both figures include online spending.