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Richards Rolls Out Robomow

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First TV Ad for Friendly Robotics' Lawn Mower Gets Big Response
DALLAS--Seeing is believing in The Richards Group's $4 million advertising campaign for the Robomow robotic lawn mower.
The product is being marketed for the first time in the U.S. by Friendly Robotics, an Israeli company with U.S. headquarters in Irving, Texas.
A television spot broke during the last week of May in test markets including Dallas, Philadelphia, Detroit and Seattle. "Mesmerizing Mower" shows a woman cycling along a leafy suburban street. She suddenly takes her eyes off the road and crashes into a stationary bus whose passengers are staring out of the window in disbelief. The camera pans over to show the focus of all this attention: a bright yellow aerodynamic box on wheels that is busily mowing a lawn unattended.
A voiceover says, "The Robomower from Friendly Robotics: It mows, you don't."
"The ad has generated tremendous awareness," said Vince Bove, account director at Richards. "Part of the strategy is 'seeing is believing.' People who have not seen it are skeptical. Seeing it is the linchpin that makes people accept it."
Scott Slaughter, field marketing manager at Friendly Robotics, said response to the TV spots has been overwhelming.
"We are being bombarded by calls," said Slaughter. "We have been manning the phones from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week and we are still not catching all the calls. The Web site offers people a video so they can see the product. Orders for videos are running at one every three seconds."
The TV commercial will air until the end of June. Supporting print ads have appeared in two consecutive issues of Parade magazine and will run in a weekend Father's Day issue of USA Today. Several more television executions by Richards are planned.
The Web site was designed by Click Here, the interactive unit of Dallas-based Richards.
Friendly Robotics launched its first Robomow, the Silver Classic, in Europe three years ago and sold more than 3,000. The latest model, the RL-500, is a refined, more user-friendly version of the earlier unit, according to the manufacturer.
"Anything that you push, pull or lift in a repetitive way can be done by a robotic appliance," said Slaughter. "That allows us to have a broad vision. We are already working on a vacuum cleaner, a snowblower, golf caddy, a wet mop and a trash can disposer."