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Blockbuster launches $20m US marketing comeback

Beleagured rental chain offers first ad campaign since 2007

Game and movie rental firm Blockbuster is attempting to bounce back in the US.

The chain, which filed for bankruptcy in September following a debt of almost $1 billion, is now gearing up for its first advertising campaign in three years.

"One of the biggest challenges for Blockbuster for the past few years has been public perception," CEO Jim Keyes told the LA Times, "and this is intended to remind people that we're still in business and we have a unique offering."

Keyes felt the company could still stand up to stiff competition from Netflix's online rentals and Redbox's street-side kiosks. The latter recently expanded its remit to include games.

Up to 800 of the 3425 US-wide Blockbuster stores are expected to close as part of a plan to escape bankruptcy by early next year. The existing debt has been wiped out.

A federal judge has granted Blockbuster permission to launch the $15-20 million marketing campaign, funded by third-party lenders.

The ads will focus on the fact that Blockbuster provides certain movies up to 28 days earlier than Netflix and Redbox, due to discontent among the likes of Fox, Universal, Warner Bros and Sony about the newer firms' low prices.

The company's monthly advertising in December spend is estimated to be up threefold from the same time last year.

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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