May 11

Response May: Almost All About Expo

I’m back again with some links from this month’s edition of Response Magazine and some back story on each piece. Please click on any of the links to jump to the stories included within!

John Foley is the magazine’s May cover and the Expo’s keynote speaker.

  • The May cover features John Foley, former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and holder of two master’s degrees from Stanford and another from the Naval War College — and Response Expo 2012‘s Keynote speaker (5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 15 in San Diego). As in the past two years, with Sir Bob Geldof and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, it was a no-brainer to relate our cover to such a great keynoter for our Expo. And the 40 minutes I spent on the phone interviewing Foley were fantastic. He’s lively, engaging and has no hesitation in getting very personal. He really responded to every question with a full voice and didn’t shy away from broaching any topic. After the interview, I was more excited than ever to hear him speak in San Diego. If you missed the story link above, here it is again: Blue Angel John Foley
  • My monthly Editor’s Note column is centered on the Sixth Annual Response Expo. When John Yarrington and I started kicking around the idea six years ago to resuscitate the event (which had a good run in the 1990s with our predecessors), we never imagined just how amazing the response from this industry would be, year after year. It’s become the most gratifying week of the year for me personally, to see everyone in San Diego having such a great time doing business and getting the latest education. And the feedback we get from you all on site is truly breathtaking. Here’s hoping next week’s event is just as satisfying as the first five have been! Check out my take on it here: All Aboard for Response Expo!
  • Finally, our biggest issue of the year so far also includes my recap of our late March trip to Washington for the DMA in DC event, as well as my interview with Euro RSCG Edge‘s Steve Netzley, both found in our Field Reports news section. I spoke directly about the event in my April issue Editor’s Note, but this news piece gives you a more circumspect look at the entire event, with some attendee feedback. Meanwhile, talking with Netzley is always like listening to a great history of the DR world, while at the same time speaking to someone who is truly connected to what’s next. For these stories and more, visit our Field Reports section online now: DMA and Edge stories

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 03

A Smattering of Unrelated Mini-Rants

For all the media’s predictable hype, at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, the Lakers (who, if you are to believe the tenor of the local media since the NBA blew up the Chris Paul trade in December, are old, poorly coached, boring and barely hanging on to relevance) and the Clippers (who, if you believe the tenor of the local media since the NBA allowed their clearly inferior deal for the same Paul to go through, are young, hip, exciting and a clearly elite threat to win the NBA title) are in a virtual tie for first place in the Pacific Division more than halfway through the season. This is proof of one of two (or maybe both) things: the canyon between these two franchises was so incredibly vast prior to December 2011 that the Clippers having an almost identical record to the Lakers (and a 1-1 split in the season series to this point) is reason enough for Clipper-based orgasms of BS; or that the sports media, both locally and nationally, are more prone to bogus hype than the bastard child of TMZ.com and the National Enquirer
CP3 as a Laker

"Basketball reasons."

Speaking of sports hype: Jeremy Lin. Nice story. Impressive run. Plenty of intrigue to it, from the Harvard angle, to the Asian-American angle, to the out-of-the-blue angle. Fortunate to be in the center of a New York media maelstrom that glorifies the Knicks as if their history is comparable to the the Lakers or Celtics, rather than that of the Rockets or Pistons. Here’s hoping the kid keeps it up and becomes a long-term NBA star, rather than simply another reason for ESPN to run more Tim Tebow stories …

Hey, Rush Limbaugh: Way to steal the spotlight from Andrew Breitbart. For once, thanks, big guy …

New Springsteen: Big thumbs up. April 27 can’t come soon enough …

The First Amendment is just as much about the freedom from religion as it is the freedom of religion. Read it. In essence, the idea is no law should restrict a person’s ability to practice his or her religion, but at the same time, no law should be based on the beliefs of a specific religion. Make of this what you will …

“The Artist” as Best Picture at the Oscars seemed foregone for a while now. Excellent film. But, as an L.A. guy, I still think it’s victory was a West Coast example of the N.Y./D.C. East Coast navelgazing media winning out. Hollywood’s a company town. I found “The Descendants” a much more relevant film for our time …

RE: the UCLA basketball story in Sports Illustrated. Of course, as an SC guy, I get some mild amusement from it. But, really, what’s going on there that isn’t going on with a ton of other college students or not-very-successful athletic teams? Kids in college going to a rave? Getting high? Showing up somewhere hung over? Struggling teams featuring bad seeds? Dissension? Poor coaching and leadership? None of this is really massive news, is it? To give UCLA due credit, the reason SI makes this a story is because UCLA has the greatest winning tradition in college basketball. So, in the end, I find this story a different kind of hype than the ones above … but hype nonetheless …

Oregon Recruiting Issues

You'd be smiling too.

RE: the recent Oregon/NCAA news (which was expertly dumped late on a Friday; good work Oregon athletic department taking cues from the U.S. government’s way of keeping bad news quiet by releasing it when the pundits are well into a weekend-beginning Happy Hour): Here are two links that fit my thoughts as an observer of the NCAA’s growing impotence (at best) or crookedness (at worst) and where my amusement comes in as a USC fan.

Finally, I just spent a week at an industry conference in Miami. Thoughts:

  • Our people still know how to use their expense accounts to treat each other to amazing meals and drinks at incredible bars, lounges and clubs. I’ll never rant about that; it’s the way business gets done AND it’s a helluva perk …
  • That said, those hefty expense accounts are one of many things that seem to give a level of self-importance to people with no real right to it. Just be you, and I’ll be me, and if it makes sense for us to work together, let’s do it …
  • DR is an industry of optimists. If a product deserves a chance to work, the people in this business really will give it a fair shot …
  • I’m always amazed by the ability of four people around a table discussing direct response advertising (myself included) to make said conversation appear to outsiders as important as a discussion between world leaders on nuclear disarmament. I’m telling you, we’ve all got that “interested/concerned/piqued/amused” rotation of faces down pat …
  • I don’t think I’ve ever spent five days in a hotel at a networking show and never once seen a single employee of the organization hosting that event … until this week (that’s especially surprising when the organization has something along the lines of two-dozen staffers). As someone who co-founded and co-hosts an industry event that draws 3,000 people, it seems that it’s kind of hard to know what your constituents want or need from the event if your staff is locked up in board rooms or “working” an essentially non-existent “show floor” while the massive bulk of your attendees are doing business across the many bars, restaurants and public spaces at the fantastic property you’ve booked. For me, understanding the full experience of everyone at the event is always crucial to improving it the next time around. That’s why I always spend time on the floor, in the conference rooms, with our sponsors, around the hotel’s bars and restaurants, and at the parties that other companies throw in conjunction with our event …
  • Smartphones are great. I love my iPhone. But they’ve become the bane of the scheduled meeting at events like this. “Hold on, I need to take this call,” is rarely a sufficient excuse to put a 10-minute hold on the one face-to-face meeting we’re likely to have in the next 3-5 months …
  • “I have a hard stop.” Yea, I have a meeting at 2:30, also. But I don’t need to use a dumb corporatized catch-phrase to tell you that (and make you feel like this meeting doesn’t remotely compare to your 2:30) …

With that, this blogging effort has reached a hard stop … for bed.

 

Feb 22

Response February: Growing Hair, Inside Jerry’s ‘Circus’ and a Rant on the DRMA’s 5th

Once again this month, rather than just putting links on Facebook and Twitter with my Response Magazine stories, I figured I’d transition the links to a single blog post that I could then link to said social media. Plus, this forum gives me a little space to expand on each story and give you some deeper background.

  • The February cover features Bosley’s Rob Spurrell. The story actually grew out of an initial call with Steven Aquavia, the director of marketing for the Beverly Hills-based leader in hair-loss solutions and medical hair restoration. Steven will be a featured speaker at Response Expo 2012 in San Diego this May. I was intrigued by the 37-year old company’s marketing story, and Steven kindly linked me to Rob, a 15-year veteran at Bosley. Rob was an intriguing interview, especially when discussing the company’s huge success the past two years, despite marketing a high-priced “vanity” service in a down economy. If you missed the story link above, here it is again: “No Splitting Hairs”

    Bosley, Jerry and a rant.

    Bosley's Rob Spurrell leads the way into the latest issue of Response.

  • Our February issue also includes an exclusive interview with TV talk legend Jerry Springer. Why Jerry? Well, aside from the obvious comedy of his over-the-top talk show that’s now in its 21st syndicated season, “Jerry” is a haven for DRTV advertisers. As NBC Universal’s Brian Levy, who pitched this story to me in autumn 2011, knows from his experience with that company’s syndicated program media offerings, “The Jerry Springer Show” has brought tremendous success to its advertiser base. Even more impressive than Springer’s self-deprecating sense of humor over the phone, however, was his own clear knowledge of why his show works for DRTV advertisers. Once again, if you missed that first link, here’s your second chance to read my one-on-one with Jerry Springer: “Springer’s ‘Circus'”
  • Finally, my monthly Editor’s Note column touches upon the fifth anniversary of the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA), the magazine’s associated networking group that I helped found. We’re happy that the DRMA has, to this point, fulfilled its mission, and clearly our members and the leaders of our business deserve the lions’ share of the credit for that. However, we’ve experienced — first hand, time and time again — the high costs, the red tape and the petty politics most people experience when dealing with less-effective industry trade groups. There’s no doubt that the avoidance of these things has been a boon to the DRMA’s success thus far. Again, here’s the link if you missed it above: The DRMA at 5

Once again, thanks for reading and interacting with Response!