Mar 14

Response March: The Power of Housewares in DR; Flying High at Response Expo; and a New Partnership With the DMA

Since our wonderful senior editor Jackie Jones took on this month’s cover feature about Hoover’s recent foray into direct response TV, this month’s recap is a little shorter. But here goes:

  • Having just returned from the annual International Home+Housewares Show in Chicago, I can tell you for a fact that the market’s excitement for and use of DR marketing is at an all-time high, as I contended in my March Editor’s Note.
    The Housewares Show was once again a hot spot for DR leaders.

    While there, it was a pleasure to meet Chef Rick Tarantino and Susan Zaso, crucial contributors to our feature story about celebrity chefs and their influence on housewares marketing. At the same time, it was great to catch up with Concepts TV Productions‘ Collette Liantonio, who authored a great column for the issue about how housewares marketers are using DRTV to help out consumers facing the tough economy. It’s always great when an issue of Response really comes together and is well timed, and, thanks to our contributors, this was definitely one of those!

  • We also announced a couple of big news items in this month’s Field Reports section, including welcoming ex-Blue Angels leader John Foley as the keynoter at Response Expo 2012. If anyone can fill the big shoes of Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Sir Bob Geldof — our past two Expo keynote speakers — it’s Foley.
    Blue Angels Keynoter

    John Foley will keynote Response Expo on May 15.

    His inspiring talk is also full of great business insight and is sure to wow our attendees. Finally, Response has teamed with the Direct Marketing Association to sponsor its DMA in DC event on March 26-27. For marketers interested in learning about the hottest regulatory topics facing their businesses and reaching the right government representatives to tackle those issues, the DMA in DC event promises to be a great forum!


Mar 10

The Adventures of Butch & Catalina: Vucevic’s Pawn

“Monty Got a Raw Deal,” he said.

“What?”she asked quizzically.

“It’s the name of an R.E.M. song,” he answered with a chuckle.

She stared a him, shrugged her shoulders, and picked up her knife. The waiter had just set down two plates of obscenly large steaks at their table. Taking a deep breath, mentally fortifying herself for the task at hand, Catalina dug in.

She’d always been ravenous about her red meat, but something about this dinner was different. It was as if she was eating against some invisible clock, racing through her medium rare bone-in filet as if trying to finish it before it left too big a pool of blood on her sparkling white plate. About five minutes after the food had been delivered, Butch asked, “Do you have somewhere to be after this or what?”

Catalina's Prey

“You know I can’t tell you that,” she replied, her annoyance palable. It was not the first time they needed to have this converstaion. After their first date two years ago, Catalina had made it clear the questions that could, and more importantly, could not be asked.  Butch should know better by now. She placed her fork and knife neatly on her plate and pushed it towards the edge of the table. She was done.

And, by done, her steak was actually gone, fully consumed. The only things that matched Catalina’s mysterious nature and impatience were her appetites: for food, for sex, for a thrill, for danger. While Butch had been around the game long enough for his own once-legendary craving for action ease slowly into a longer race with moments of intensity, Catalina was still in close touch with those yearnings. Yearnings that had, more than once, put her in harm’s way.

“Whatever it is, or isn’t, just be careful,” Butch said. “Don’t tell me about it. Fine. But I don’t want to find out about it is in the paper tomorrow morning.”

“Oh, Butch,” Catalina said affectionately. Her eyes studied the man seated across from her and took him in. His kind eyes that looked genuinely concerned were the only sign of the real man hiding underneath the trying-too-hard tough guy exterior he worked hard to maintain. “Eat your steak.”

Yes, yes I will, thought Butch. After all, the last time he’d had a steak this good – at this joint called Jocko’s, somewhere on the central California coast – he’d lost it after three bites when Vucevic’s henchmen burst into the dining room, firing their AK-47s indiscriminately. At that time, as he ducked quickly under his table, pulling Catalina down with him, he’d thought, “Fuck, I finally get a quiet night away from everything and this steak was so damn good!” They’d had to shoot their way out of that mess, of course. So, now, even though Catalina was condescending to him, he thought, “Absolutely, I will eat this damned steak, every last bite, and I will enjoy the hell out of it.”

Catalina watched him eat, slowly sipping her drink. She needed to keep her head clear for later and could already feel the two she’d had before dinner going to her head. Tonight was important. And that’s why her dinner with Butch mattered so much right now. She didn’t want him to have read about her in tomorrow’s paper, because that would mean something would have gone wrong. Very, very wrong.

Since they’d arrived in Belgrade, they had taken the tack of hiding in plain sight. The Serbs already knew they were in country, so what was the point of going deep cover? Instead, they were staying in the city’s top hotel, eating at the best restaurants, hitting all the tourist destinations. These were all places that Vucevic would never think of trying to take them down. It would be a bad PR move – both for him and for his beloved homeland. But, where Catalina was headed later – well, that was a different story.


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!