Last October, what eventually became the cover story for the July issue of Response had a simple genesis — I wanted to rest my weary legs. For more of that story and additional background on other key parts of the issue that hit mailboxes and the Web a few weeks back, read on!
Weary legs? Well, yes. I was attending the annual DMA conference in San Diego, and it’d been a long day of walking from show floor to session and back (and forth, and back again). During one afternoon time frame, I’d noted two possible educational sessions to pop into, in order to listen to and meet the marketers who were speaking on stage — and those weary legs told me, “Just go to the closest one.” It was there that I saw Alessandra Souers, brand director for JibJab, as part of a group discussing the future of online marketing. For those of you familiar with Response Expo, you know that Souers eventually sat on a panel at our event this past April. She’s one of the brighter young minds in marketing — and pretty darned amusing on Twitter, I might add. After her appearance at the Expo, I tossed out the idea of a cover story on JibJab’s marketing efforts — long focused online, but in recent holiday seasons, also dipping a toe into the pool of direct response TV. Not only did she help bring this cover to life, she actually got me all the way to the top — an interview with the company’s co-founder and CEO, Gregg Spiridellis. Among the many “online-to-offline” marketers we’ve covered of late, JibJab’s story of going from viral-video groundbreaker to monetized marketing leader may be the most interesting. If you missed the link above, here it is again: More Than Just Talking Heads
As one who prefers the value of finding and enjoying great experiences over the concept of buying “things,” I enjoyed the angle our writer Nicole Urso Reed — a one-time staffer at both Response and JibJab, and one of my most versatile and talented long-time freelancers — took for our annual look at marketing in the entertainment space. The idea that a consumer is looking for a great experience from not only events, but actual hard products, shouldn’t be news today. This evolving consumer is ever-more-picky about what he or she desires from time, money — and gadgets. If you didn’t already click the link above — here it is: Selling the Good Vibes
Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap takes a look at the first long-form DRTV results of 2015 — and they continue what’s now a 2.5-year downward trend. Total spending in 1Q 2015 long-form billings was the lowest recorded in any first quarter by Response since 2001. If there is to be a rebound in the infomercial media space in the final nine months of 2015, it’s likely to be led by the market’s two biggest categories: beauty and fitness. However, while fitness had a strong first quarter, beauty remained mired in a slump that kicked in last year. For a more in-depth look at 1Q 2015 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Stabilization, No Rebound, for 1Q Long-Form DRTV Billings
One steamy day of meetings in New York City in late June is the jumping off point for my July Editor’s Note column. As we reached the halfway point of what’s been a year of transition for the direct, digital and data-driven marketing world — and our role in it — listening to the comments from the many agency and network leaders we met with during that visit prompted some reflection on the first six months, as well as an opportunity to look ahead to closing out 2015 strong. Here’s that link once again: The Summer Heat Provides Its Own Time for Reflection
Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!
The April issue of Response went live online the day before Response Expo in San Diego last week, with the print version first finding readers’ hands during the successful 3-day event. At the show, our great attendees were greeted with the traditionally outstanding series of networking events, an intense and passionate keynote from entertainment and sports mogul Peter Guber, and two days worth of educational sessions featuring many of the faces and companies you’ve become familiar with in our pages and from these blog posts. This afternoon, as we regroup and recover from our busiest, yet most rewarding, week of the year, I took some time to glance back at how the April issue came together.
In early November, word came across the wire that Wix.com, the cloud-based Web development platform based in Tel Aviv, would become the first TV advertiser built on the tenets of direct response to appear during the broadcast of the Super Bowl in nearly a decade. Within moments of seeing the news, I was reaching out to the company’s head of strategic marketing communications, Eric Mason, to see if Wix would be interested in sharing the story behind this decision. As Mason and I continued to discuss the idea through the end of 2014, it became clear that Wix expected big things from its Super Bowl campaign — not just a TV ad, but a massive omnichannel effort — and Mason had buy-in on the article from the company’s CMO, Omer Shai. The decision became clear: if the Wix campaign went well, it would be a perfect fit for our April (Response Expo) issue to tell the continuing story of online advertisers finding great success in expanding marketing to offline outlets. That decision worked out extremely well for both Wix and Response, as the campaign was a blockbuster for the marketer, and Shai was able to tell a great omnichannel story for our show issue. And, not only that, many of our attendees were lucky enough to hear Mason expound on this story and share more of Wix’s secrets of success last week at the Expo. If you missed the link above, here it is again: Wix’s Winning Game Plan
Omnichannel customer experiences were also the focus of our annual look at the beauty & personal care category. Long one of the direct response world’s biggest verticals, beauty & personal care has also been a leader in welcoming in brand advertisers as part of the growing direct, digital and data-driven marketing universe. As the Web’s influence grows in the space — according to one study, the category enjoyed $4.3 billion in online sales (6.5 percent of its total) in 2014 — the consumer conversation online and in retail outlets becomes more and more important. For a full look at what’s happening in the space — and if you didn’t already click the link above — here’s another chance to read the story: Creating True Customer Experiences
Mercifully, our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings update focuses on fourth-quarter (and, of course, full year) 2014 long-form DRTV results. I say mercifully because long-form media hasn’t seen times this lean since 2002, when the post-9/11 recession took a big bite out of the entire direct response business. With a quarterly drop of $33 million, the 2014 annual total slipped by more than $94 million, dropping below $900 million in total annual spending for the first time in 12 years. The good news, such as it is? The cable marketplace, whose losses were to blame for 2013’s struggles, finally began to bounce back in the last six months of the year. And if the beauty and fitness markets return to normal in 2015, we could see a quick return to form. For a deeper dive into 4Q 2014 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form DRTV Billings Wrap Worst Year Since 2002
One last mention of Response Expo (for now) comes in my April Editor’s Note column. Now and then, I like to share with readers the direction of where our publication (and event) are headed and why. With a great cover story like Wix and our ninth annual Expo as key factors this month, it seemed a perfect time to touch base with you all. In case you missed the link to the piece, here it is once again: Putting a Spring in Marketers’ Steps
Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!
Since I’ve fallen behind a bit on updating my Photo-A-Day project — not behind on taking photos, mind you, but merely on working them up and getting them into the blog — I figured I’d drop this post with 25 selected outtakes from the first six months of 2013. These images were all in consideration for best photo of their given day, but fell short. They were worked up and ready to go, so I present them here in a gallery format. To see each image at full size, simply click on it in the gallery!
22-JAN-2013: Amazing sunset out the plane window returning to LA from a biz trip to Wisconsin.
6-FEB-2013: Truth, presented by Seven Grand in DTLA.
7-FEB-2013: Many architectural eras on display at 7th & Grand in DTLA.
7-FEB-2013: Love the textures and colors. Jefferson/USC Metro stop.
9-FEB-2013: Century City AMC snack stand. Love the angle and the font.
14-FEB-2013: Walking home after V-Day dinner and came across this great view.
18-FEB-2013: Awesome reflection in a fountain outside the LA Public Library.
21-FEB 2013: Perfect day at the University of Southern California.
25-FEB-2013: Sometimes work travel isn’t the worst. Like when you have 45 minutes to put your feet up on the balcony of your room at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
2-MAR-2013: Getting sneaky on a late, cold night at The Lodge in Chicago.
3-MAR-2013: Oh, tradeshow floors. Who knows what you’ll find?
17-MAR-2013: Great dusk on St. Patrick’s Day in DTLA.
30-MAR-2013: Something about a cool tap handle, here at the Angel City Brewery tasting room in DTLA.
3-APR-2013: Quite a sunset over San Diego Harbor for our Response Expo guests.
14-APR-2013: The Magic Kingdom, indeed.
19-APR-2013: If you want to see 2 people make way more (good) noise than should be possible, see Japandroids. Here at Coachella.
21-APR-2013: Love the interactivity of this image during the Alex Clare set at Coachella.
21-APR-2013: Wu-Tang balloons ain’t nothin’ to fuck wit’.
9-MAY-2013: Late spring rain made for crappy traffic, but awesome lighting, on the evening commute.
15-MAY-2013: 42nd birthday self-portrait.
12-JUN-2013: The new One World Trade Center over Lower Manhattan from Varick Street.
16-JUN-2013: The trees and the couple make this shot of the streetlamps outside LACMA.
21-JUN-2013: Zoom lenses rock as hard as Alfonso Soriano rocked this base hit.
23-JUN-2013: Michigan Avenue snaking up the center of this image from the John Hancock Tower above Chicago.