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The days of sending in proofs of purchase in exchange for a watch, cookbook or T-shirt may soon be in the past with the invention of video giveaways.

Many companies throughout the country are taking a new marketing angle by offering video cassettes as an incentive premium, and a Provo production company plans to capitalize on that market in producing product-related marketing videos.The company, Special Interest Productions, recently released its first video for Betty Crocker. The video demonstrates how to decorate cakes for all occasions and will be advertised on Betty Crocker cake mix boxes for a year.

John Pack, director of communications for the company, said the video is expected to be advertised on 250 million packages. The company expects to sell around 200,000 video cassettes in the next 18 months.

The 38-minute video is a premium offered for proof of purchase and $9.95.

The video was co-produced by Betty Crocker, but all production for the video was done in Utah using local talent. The video's sole actress, Joan Fisher, is from Salt Lake City.

Susan Niles, assistant product manager at Betty Crocker, said, "Something like this is hard to do in-house. We have the facilities to do this, but it takes a lot of coordination. We gave these guys the initial direction and they took it and ran with it."

Mike Bloom, Special Interest Productions president, said the company was interested in producing a cake decorating video for sale to the general public, but with Betty Crocker's backing, the video will be easier to sell.

"The consumer gets a valued product for a reasonable price, and the company gets to reinforce their product benefits. It's a marriage made in heaven," he said.

In the past, companies have offered various items as incentive premiums. Now they have a chance to give the consumer something that will enhance the product in the consumer's eyes, Bloom said.

Special Interest Productions covers all production costs, including the production of video tapes. The script and auditions are reviewed by the company buying the service.

"Nothing haunted us once the proj-ect was finished," Niles said. "The casting was great. We feel really good about the quality of the video."

The production company's future plans includes work on videos for baby care, make-up application and pet care. The company also produces videos promoting good will.

In January Special Interest will start production on a child development video for Baby's Choice Diapers. Heinz Baby Food is also interested in the same type of promotion.

Special Interest has also been working with doctors to produce a video about child care for hospitals to present to mothers when they leave the hospital.

"This doesn't sell the product directly, but in a service industry such as health care, concern for the customer or the patient can definitely benefit the company," Bloom said.

Many companies see topical videos as the trend of the future "and our company is going to be right out in front because we're the people who are already doing it," he said.