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By CYNTHIA VINARSKY



Published: Sat, July 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

CANFIELD -- Quintuplets born to a Hubbard native and his wife a year and a half ago are making their television debut in 13 markets across the country as the stars of a commercial for Canfield-based Rainbow Rentals.

Produced by The Prodigal Media Co., the commercial features Daniel, John, Angelina, Lauren and James DiLullo, who will be 18 months old Wednesday. The quintuplets live in the Dayton area with their parents, Michael and Michelle DiLullo, and their older brother Anthony. Their paternal grandparents, Fred and Cecelia DiLullo, live in Hubbard.

Award-winning spot: The television spot Prodigal calls "Babies" won a bronze award recently from the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations, one of three ads recognized as the best commercials produced nationally for a rent-to-own company in 2000-2001 by an advertising agency.

Jeff Hedrich, Prodigal Media president, said Rainbow Rental also took home three APRO awards for commercials it produced in-house with the assistance of Prodigal Media. APRO is the national trade association for the rental-purchase industry.

Hedrich, who directed the quadruplets' commercial, said the story line features a young father's comic efforts to get diapers on his three little boys after their bath. The script calls for three babies, but all five were used in the commercial.

"Having five, similar-in-appearance, beautiful little babies like the DiLullo quintuplets allowed us to substitute one child for another whenever someone got tired or bored or both," explained Matt Mighell, Prodigal's producer.

With "creative editing," the crew was able to use the boys and girls interchangeably, he said.

Shooting took two days, since labor laws limit child actors to working five to six hours a day. The babies had an entourage of six adult caretakers, including their parents, one set of grandparents, two paid baby sitters and a pediatric nurse.

Creative and strategic: Hedrich said Prodigal has won other awards when its clients have submitted its efforts for competition in their own trade industries.

He makes it a policy not to enter awards contests run by the advertising industry, however, because he believes they can lead to focusing too much on winning and being creative instead of on getting the client's message across.

"I believe in creativity, but it's got to be creativity that's strategically designed to sell a product for the client," Hedrich said.

Rainbow Rental is airing the commercials in Detroit, Cleveland, Boston and in several east coast markets, as well as in the Youngstown-Warren market. The rent-to-own chain has 109 stores in 11 states.

Prodigal Media was founded in 1996 and its client list includes Sparkle Markets, Sheely's Furniture, Farmers National Bank, Packer Thomas, Perfecta Products and Phantom Fireworks.

vinarsky@vindy.com




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