By the time Hollywood Video launched its ‘‘Welcome to Hollywood’’ campaign in mid-1998 the company had a strong first quarter under its belt—it had opened 88 new stores and reported revenue of $170 million, a 54 percent jump from the first quarter of 1997. The company also launched a new store design that emulated the allure of Hollywood to a greater degree—the bright lights and monitors were accompanied by Hollywood memorabilia and photos of movie stars. The campaign’s ads appeared in major U.S. markets and spotlighted Hollywood Video’s new releases, promotions, guarantee policies, and, as Wattles said in the Portland Oregonian, ‘‘that we love movies. . . . We are Hollywood.’’ Arthur Bijur, Cliff Freeman’s executive creative director, explained in SHOOT that the campaign was designed to show consumers that Hollywood Video ‘‘really gets Hollywood and everything about it, . . . to show that it’s more a place which is really all about movies.’’ To accomplish this, Bijur said, the spots focused on things that were uniquely and utterly Hollywood.
‘‘Action’’ was set in the action/adventure section of a Hollywood Video store. An older cowboy dressed in black attempted to teach two male employees how to throw a fake punch as customers looked on in curiosity. The employee practicing to hit ran into some trouble with the maneuver. The cowboy explained, ‘‘That was a good start, but we don’t actually want to hit the person.’’ The puncher tried again but was unsuccessful. On the third punch the second employee slumped to the ground as the cowboy exclaimed, ‘‘That was so close!’’ Another television spot, ‘‘Don,’’ lampooned movie trailers and featured Don LaFontaine, who actually provided voiceovers for many trailers. In the ad a couple approached the counter with a video and asked the employee to tell them a bit about the movie. The employee knocked on a cabinet underneath the counter and LaFontaine, dressed in a suit, emerged. The employee handed him the tape, and LaFontaine read in his instantly recognizable voice:
‘‘From Flesh to Steel. From Blood to Blade. From Man to Mutant. Evil has a new enemy. Justice has a new weapon. And the world . . . has a new hero.’’ LaFontaine then handed the tape back to the employee and crawled back into the cabinet. Cliff Freeman art director Matt Vescovo explained in SHOOT that ‘‘the whole idea is that Hollywood Video is totally Hollywood, and one of the things we associate with Hollywood is this guy’s voice. So what better guy is there to describe a movie to customers than this guy who’s an authority and knows everything about every movie and everybody has heard his voice a million times?’’ Other spots included ‘‘Birds,’’ which parodied Alfred Hitchcock’s movie of the same name, ‘‘Musical,’’ which featured two male employees dancing and singing about the store’s five-day rental policy, and ‘‘Credits,’’ which spoofed the final credits of a movie. The ‘‘Welcome to Hollywood’’ campaign also included several radio spots. All followed the ‘‘Sixty Second Theater’’ theme and provided a humorous glimpse into the plots of such popular movies as Tomorrow Never Dies, As Good As It Gets, Scream 2, and Good Will Hunting. In the ads the announcer began, ‘‘Hollywood Video presents Sixty Second Theater, where we try, unsuccessfully, to pack all the action and drama of a two-hour Hollywood production into 60 seconds.’’ A comical take-off of the plot ensued, complete with actors impersonating the celebrity voices. The Good Will Hunting spot ended with the announcer stating, ‘‘If this doesn’t satisfy your urge to see Good Will Hunting, and we can’t say we blame you, then rent it today at Hollywood Video, where Good Will Hunting is guaranteed to be in stock, or next time it’s free.’’