Apr 09

Response March: Puck’s New Baby, Billick at Expo, and My Kind of Town

The March issue of Response has been available online for a couple of weeks now, but with Response Expo less than three weeks away, you can imagine how crazy things are around the office! The good news is that I finally found a few quiet moments today to give you an inside look at the issue, including the cover feature highlighting Wolfgang Puck’s new pressure oven, the announcement of Response Expo’s latest top-notch keynoter and more:

  • In late 2013, one of the best PR folks in the biz, Andrea Pass of Steinreich Communications, let drop that she may be able to finagle a cover story for us on Puck, the celebrity chef best known for his legendary Spago in Beverly Hills. Working with Tim Pearson at Direct Holdings Global (formerly Time-Life), the Puck team was about to debut a brand new item, never seen in the housewares world: a combination pressure cooker/oven. Skip ahead to the morning of February 4, and I found myself inside Spago, watching the photo shoot for our cover and waiting to interview Puck for one of the more interesting stories I’ve worked on in some time. Puck was thoughtful, personable and funny — and very well-informed about the business — during our 20-minute chat over an iced green tea (him) and a cappuccino (me). Between the chef (who is also one of HSN’s most decorated product purveyors), Pearson and brand new media U.S.’ Patrick Raymond, who produced the video assets for the DR campaign, this is one of the more well-rounded cover stories I’ve been able to put together in some time. Oh, and the turkey you see Puck pulling out of the oven when you click through to the story? Cooked perfectly — 14 lbs., in just 55 minutes! And quite tasty. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Puck’s Housewares Masterpiece
  • Once again, our Field Reports news section is a hearty one this month, led by a special Q&A with 2013 DRMA Member of the Year Kristy Pinand-Dumpert of Concepts TV Productions in Boonton, N.J. Additionally, the section includes the announcement of our Response Expo 2014 keynote speaker: former Super Bowl-winning football coach and current analyst and speaker Brian Billick. We’re so thrilled to have Billick, a spectactular speaker on teamwork, team building and turning your staff into something greater than the whole of its parts, kicking things off in San Diego on Tuesday, April 29. It’s just one more reason to attend the Expo! If you missed the link above to these two big stories (and more), click here to take a look: Field Reports March
  • Housewares fell on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Chicago.

    There’s no doubt: 2013 was a down year for direct response TV and radio media billings results. Third-quarter DR radio results continued the trend, slipping a little more than 5 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The key: a drop in spending on the top 10 campaigns. Only an increase in spending on lower-end campaigns helped keep the floor from falling out. For more on 3Q DR radio billings from Kantar Media, click here: 3Q 2013 DR Radio Media Billings Slip 5.4 Percent

  • Finally, my Editor’s Note leaned heavily on the industry’s long-term successful work in the housewares space. After all, March means two things to long-time readers of Response: a visit to Chicago’s International Home + Housewares Show, and a great time at our annual DRMA Chicago Reception. The housewares market, much like the healthcare market we covered in February, is clearly one of the verticals that has embraced the combination of direct, digital and data-driven marketing methods with great success. For more of my thoughts, here’s the link once again: Housewares Finds Plenty of Green Using Direct Concepts

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jan 13

Response December: Christmas Trees, IMS’ Annual Rankings and a Little Bit of AP

Though the December issue of Response has been available online since prior to the holiday break, it’s time for a quick look back before we move along into 2014. Hopefully, if you’re one of our readers, you’ve taken a good look at the issue, but — if not — here’s some back story on the cover feature highlighting Balsam Brands entrepreneur Thomas Harman, as well as a number of the other key pieces in the issue:

  • THOR Associates’ Fern Lee, a member of our Response Advisory Board, can take great credit for the timeliness of our December cover story about Redwood City, Calif.-based Balsam Brands and its dip into the DRTV waters for its Balsam Hill line of high-end artificial Christmas trees. Harman, a business leader with a great entrepreneurial spirit and vision, founded Balsam Hill as an E-retailer in 2006 and saw the company grow exponentially in its early years. But after what might be called a slight misstep into DRTV in late 2012, the Balsam Brands team connected with THOR on a much more well prepared and researched campaign for the 2013 holiday season. If you missed the link above, here it is once again: ‘O, Christmas Tree …’
  • For the 12th consecutive year, IMS has provided its exclusive list of the top 50 long-form and top 50 short-form DRTV campaigns of the year to Response! Once again, health-and-fitness, housewares and beauty products are among the leaders in both categories. The IMS team also provides an intriguing look back at the top 5 long-form products for the past 10 years, and — for the first time — a look at the U.S. Hispanic market. Of course, you’re probably just asking yourself, “Who’s No. 1?” Well, if you missed the link above, click here to find out: The IMS Top 50 Infomercials and Spots of 2013
  • AP’s Bruce and Robin Stone.

    This month, the DRMA Spotlight is turned on Simi Valley, Calif., call center Applied Perceptions. Founded by husband-and-wife team Bruce and Robin Stone in 2001, AP — as they often call it — prides itself on being a profit center for clients, due to its powerfully specialized agent corps and ability to provide both sales and customer service capabilities for marketers of all shapes and sizes. If you missed the link above to this special update, click here: Built From the Ground Up. If you’d like to watch the video interview I conducted with Bruce Stone, click here: DRMA Spotlight Video — Applied Perceptions

  • The 2Q 2013 DR radio media billings results, provided by Kantar Media, finally provided a small ray of hope to what’s been a troubled media landscape throughout much of the year. The market was up an impressive 22.8 percent for the quarter, which made it DR radio’s best second quarter in six years. For a full look at all the categorical and outlet results, here’s the link: 2Q 2013 DR Radio Media Billings Rise 22.8 Percent
  • My final Editor’s Note of the year seeks to sound a call to marketers across the direct, digital and data-driven landscape to look ahead — not back — and use the power of their position to help drive the new marketing universe. It’s unimaginable to me how often I hear folks in our world yearn out loud for the simpler times of the past — the good old “As Seen On TV” days — rather than focusing on how they can best be positioned to not only take advantage of new technologies to improve their businesses, but actually take their experiences and become the leaders they should be in this new age of consumer-driven marketing. If you missed it above, here’s the link: DR Marketers Must Choose the Future

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jun 29

Response June: Vivarin Revived, Web Exclusive Content and More

RES0613_CV1_0The June issue of Response has been available online since early last week. Hopefully, if you’re one of our readers, you’ve taken a look at it, but — if not — here’s some back story on the cover feature on Meda Consumer Healthcare and Blake Hawley, as well as a number of the other key pieces in the issue:

  • June marks the third consecutive issue that our cover feature subject harkens from the pharmaceutical/supplements business — and also the third consecutive issue featuring a speaker from Response Expo 2013, as Blake Hawley and the team at Meda Consumer Healthcare are in the spotlight. Hawley spoke on a panel (with our May cover boy, Vitaquest’s Charles Mooney) at our event in early April, following an introduction from long-time Response Advisory Board member Mike Medico of E+M Advertising in New York. Her efforts in bringing legacy supplement brand Vivarin back into the market spotlight via a DRTV drive-to-Web and drive-to-retail couponing campaign are a great example of the power direct response can have in this vertical category. And Meda’s trusting Hawley to do much the same this summer for a brand that any TV viewer from the 1950s-1980s remembers well: Geritol. Here’s the link again, if you missed it above: Wake Up!
  • June also marks the return of an annual feature: our look at the home shopping space. As technology grows, the leaders in the space, such as QVC and HSN, are seeing their business become much more of a Web-based, data-driven, customer relationship model. At the same time, the success of the medium has drawn a new level of marketer to these networks in recent years, including Disney and Coca-Cola. It’s an intriguing read on a business that’s bursting at the seams. If you missed the link above, here it is: Home Shopping Comes of Age
  • The online edition of the June issue features a pair of Web Exclusive columns that did not appear in the print edition: Peter Koeppel of Koeppel Direct muses on second-screen research and the possibilities presented by the expansion of smartphone and tablet use, while Dial800‘s Scott Richards writes about the challenges — and some solutions — of the ever-expanding field of legal services advertisers in the local short-form DR space.
  • Our latest analysis of the DR industry’s quarterly media billings results circles back to DR radio billings’ 4Q 2012 results. Unlike both long-form and short-form DRTV results, both of which celebrated banner years, DR radio essentially broke even with 2011 when all was said and done. The fourth quarter’s 3.1 percent drop left total billings for the year off by less than 1 percent total. For a full look at all the categorical and outlet results, here’s the link: DR Radio Media Billings Slide 3.1 Percent in 4Q 2012
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note reflects on the growing power of direct, digital and data-driven marketing in the pharmaceutical and supplement space. With June marking our third consecutive month featuring a marketer from this space on the cover, it’s worth considering how the powerful combination of direct response, online and retail is pushing the vertical to new heights. If you missed the link to my the column above, here it is once again: Pharma/Supplement Marketers Provide Incredible Response Solutions

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!