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<I>Jurassic Park III</I> Survival Phone Promo Is Extinct

7 Jun, 2002 By: Holly J. Wagner

Universal Studios Home Video is hopping off a deal that promoted the Jurassic Park III home video release with Hop-On.com disposable cell phones.

Universal will send $30 checks and a free DVD to about 1,000 people who redeemed an in-package offer for a Jurassic Park III survival phone.

Hop-On was unable to deliver the phones in time for the promotion, which closed May 17, said Universal spokesperson Evan Fong.

The Jurassic Park III DVD was packaged with inserts that guaranteed another free DVD to all purchasers. About 5,000 of the inserts also won the phones and about 20 percent of those were turned in for redemption, he explained. While the DVDs offered in the promotion have already been sent, those who won the phone will receive the check and an additional DVD to compensate for the snafu. Those should go out within about 60 days, Fong said.

A Dec. 19 press release on Hop-On.com detailed the Hop-On launch this way:

“Hop-On, the leading developer of disposable and fully recyclable cell phones, today announced the company's initial launch with Universal Studios Home Video and the Jurassic Park III DVD Dec.11 that has been deemed a success based on initial sales and the heightened level of consumer and major national media interest in the title and the disposable cell phone promotion.”

Months later, questions surround the company. An investigation by The San Francisco Chronicle uncovered no proprietary product and no Federal Communications Commission authorization for Hop-On to produce phones.

“After cracking open several samples with Hop-On's name and kangaroo logo, The Chronicle found the ‘revolutionary' device appeared to be little more than a jury-rigged Nokia in a new plastic shell,” according to a news story in which Hop-On CEO Peter Michaels told The Chronicle the phones it examined are “sample” mock-ups that it was forced to produce with Nokias because of glitches with its own invention.

The confusion illustrates the risks of dealing with a new, unproven company.

“Usually our cross-promotions are with established brands -- Pepsi, Tropicana and so on. This time we went with an entrepreneurial company that was developing a new product,” Fong said. “The technology didn't move quite as fast as the marketing did. Like any kind of new technology, it's a guess as to whether you will have it ready on time.”

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