Bill McClellan

Recent Posts

The FTC Isn't the Only One Watching DRTV

by Bill McClellan on Apr 22, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy

Reyes_250tFirst Harry Hill of Oak Lawn Marketing Group shared his experience about participating in the Government Affairs Fly-In. Then DRTV veteran Jeff Tuller of Savvier explained the importance of seeing firsthand the government and the legislature at work.   

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New ERA Partnership Helps Marketers Grow Business in Asia

by Bill McClellan on Apr 7, 2015 3:00:00 AM ERA News

Recently ERA joined hands with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in a mutually beneficial partnership that should pay dividends for direct response marketers for years to come.

Our agreement expresses a partnership to cooperate on promoting increased bilateral promotional activities.

For the ERA membership, this is big news! Now ERA will be in a position to better strategically assist member companies as they grow their business activities in Asia.   

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Senate Schedules Vote-A-Rama [The 10 Things DRTV Should Know]

by Bill McClellan on Mar 26, 2015 3:30:00 AM Advocacy

Stop the presses! The Senate has scheduled a Vote-A-Rama during the budget resolution vote. More than 100 amendments may get voted in rapid succession in what is called the “Vote-A-Rama.”

What to Expect:  

The Vote-A-Rama consists of votes that are non-binding. It really is political theater at its best. The word on the street is that we can expect a vote on Internet Sales Tax and attempts to repeal the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling.

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Is a Higher Standard of Transparency the Next Big Thing for DRTV?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 13, 2015 3:00:00 AM FTC

Last week, the FTC and NY State office of Attorney General reached a settlement agreement with the Allstar Products Group to resolve a compliance inquiry.

In an effort to enhance the consumer ordering and customer service experience, the company has agreed to provide multiple opportunities for customers to confirm their orders before placing them and to clarify ordering and return procedures.

Will this settlement serve as a Direct Response wake-up call?

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5 Reasons Why Direct Response Pros Shouldn't Ignore the 2015 GA Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on Feb 27, 2015 3:00:00 AM ERA News, Advocacy

The renowned ERA GA Fly-In is back! This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. 

The two-day event will be held at the Washington SunTrust Headquarters starting on Tuesday, May 12th and concluding May 13th.  Here is a high-level agenda to help you make your travel plans:

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How to Explain What Just Happened At the BBB To Your DRTV Friends

by Bill McClellan on Feb 12, 2015 2:28:00 PM

Earlier today the news broke.

The Better Business Bureau's Code of Advertising, created in the 1960’s, has been revised. The changes could have ramifications throughout the advertising world for years to come.

Why Now?

Times have changed and so has advertising. The new Code of Advertising is being updated for the first time since the 1970s to better reflect the Federal Trade Commission’s current approach to advertising claims. This comprehensive change to the Better Business Bureau’s cornerstone product reflects the many new ways advertisers reach consumers via social media, texting and other channels. 

Who Will Enforce It?

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10 Things Direct Response Marketers Should Know About Great Ideas 2015

by Bill McClellan on Jan 23, 2015 3:00:00 AM Great Ideas Summit

It’s that time again. The Great Ideas Summit 2015 kicks off soon in the heart of South Beach. ERA's room block is gone at the Loews Hotel. That’s a great sign that the deals will flow and the networking will be stellar.  

Rumor has it that there are a lot of first time direct response marketers attending. So I thought I should pull together some tips everyone should know about Miami and this year's show.

Here is the top 10 countdown:

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"I Don't Speak For The FTC" - DRTV Listener Advisory

by Bill McClellan on Jan 13, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC, DRTV

If you are working on a DRTV campaign, stop right now and LISTEN TO THIS. It's a behind-the-scenes recording of Senior FTC Attorney Leslie Fair.

While she doesn't speak for the FTC, she is an FTC insider. She takes a look at direct response marketing practices—the ones that caught her eye in 2014. 

The opinions she expresses are her own, so it skips the usual legalese.

She just talks about what is REALLY going on at the FTC.  


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Watch Out DRTV: Obama Is Using The FTC to Take Over

by Bill McClellan on Jan 12, 2015 12:57:00 PM

Well that was quick. I just finished a report warning ERA's Board of Directors about the dangerous regulatory environment in 2015 for direct response marketing. It could be worse than I thought.

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2014 – An FTC Review of Direct Response With Leslie Fair

by Bill McClellan on Jan 7, 2015 4:43:00 PM Advocacy

Last month the FTC's Michael Ostheimer briefed ERA’s Government Affairs Committee on “Operation Full Disclosure”.  You can find the audio recording of the call as well as the Michael’s slide deck at the bottom of this blog post.

It was an overwhelmingly popular presentation and we thank Michael for joining us for it. 

However, ending 2014 with such a bang created a bit of a problem.  How can you top that to kick off the New Year?

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Perceptions of Privacy: What No One In DRTV Is Talking About

by Bill McClellan on Dec 28, 2014 8:00:00 PM

Last month, Mary Madden with the PewResearch Internet Project published a study entitled  Public Perceptions of Privacy and Secuirity in the Post-Snowden Era

None of the direct response television professionals I know are talking about it. 

We should all pay more attention as DRTV companies expand their reach and influence online through digital marketing efforts. 

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12 White House Winter Wonderland Pics

by Bill McClellan on Dec 21, 2014 8:00:00 PM Miscellaneous


Last week I was over at the White House. Luckily, I got the chance to grab some pictures with my smartphone.  

I'm no Pete Souza, but I do agree with him that this year's decorations are a "Winter Wonderland."

So Happy Holidays to all my friends in the DRTV community. I hope you enjoy the 2014 national Christmas decorations as much as I do.  

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The 1 Thing Everyone Hates In DRTV

by Bill McClellan on Dec 18, 2014 8:01:00 PM Advocacy

The 1 thing everyone in direct marketing hates is the demand letter from an “unidentified plaintiff,” asking for a quick publicity-avoiding settlement. 

ERA agrees and is now weighing in to support Lunada Biomedical, a dietary supplement company with a case pending before the California Supreme Court. 

The question is whether declaratory relief is available to advertising companies under the California Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) — a consumer protection statute. This statute is often subject to abuse by unscrupulous plaintiffs who bring meritless lawsuits in order to extort quick payouts.

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Operation Full Disclosure: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

by Bill McClellan on Dec 11, 2014 4:15:00 PM Advocacy

When you have to shoot, shoot; don’t talk - Tuko 1966

There wasn’t much talking as the FTC’s Michael Ostheimer briefed ERA on “Operation Full Disclosure”. It's the FTC’s latest effort to ensure that advertising companies do not mislead consumers with false advertising.    

Here’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from our session:  

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Merry Christmas DRTV: Internet Sales Tax Is Dead

by Bill McClellan on Dec 9, 2014 8:01:00 PM Advocacy

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa came early! Sean Higgins is reporting that the Internet Sales Tax is dead for the 2014 lame duck session.  

Earlier ERA reported that Speaker Boehner opposed action this year. However, a coalition of state government groups and "brick and mortar" retailers made a last ditch effort for passage.

DRTV pros can be thankful now that those plans have fallen apart for 2014.          

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Where Will "Operation Full Disclosure” Be 1 Year From Now? The FTC briefs ERA

by Bill McClellan on Dec 7, 2014 8:00:00 PM Advocacy, FTC

On September 23rd the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its Operation “Full Disclosure” targeting more than 60 National Advertisers for failure to make adequate disclosures in their television and print ads. 

We are pleased to announce that Michael Ostheimer from the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Advertising Practices will join ERA’s Government Affairs Committee call as a special guest speaker exploring this FTC action. 

The call is scheduled for Thursday, December 11th, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. EST. 

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It's Finally Legal - 5 Prediction Market Forecasts

by Bill McClellan on Dec 4, 2014 8:00:00 PM

Back in 2013 the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) banned INTRADE the Dublin-based “prediction market”.  At the time, it was basically the only market predicting political outcomes.  Insiders here in DC and all the reporters hated to see it go.

Well now prediction markets are roaring back and everything has been blessed as legal so far.  PredicIt is the new platform everyone has started using to make bets.      

Here are 5 predictions from it that caught my eye:

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Using Advertising Claims as a Weapon?

by Bill McClellan on Dec 1, 2014 1:33:00 PM Advocacy, Self Regulation

I ran across this article in Ad Age  about the three biggest packaged-goods companies losing market share to smaller rivals. They aren’t taking all that disruption lying down. 

Now - Nestle, Procter & Gable and Unilever are changing legal tactics. Instead of using the low-cost National Advertising Division (NAD) they are now fighting some “egregiously false claims” in court. This new legal stance is seen by some as creating a weapon out of the legal system.  

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ERA Weighs In: Colorado’s “Amazon Tax Law"

by Bill McClellan on Nov 24, 2014 3:19:00 PM

The Supreme Court of the United States is taking a look at Colorado's so-called "Amazon Tax Law". Several state government associations, 23 states, the National Governors Association and the National Conferences of State Legislatures are all weighing in to challenge the Direct Marketing Association's case.

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by Bill McClellan on Nov 17, 2014 5:51:00 PM

digital-data-party-562799-editedNews that Digital Ad revenue hit $23 Billion in the first half of 2014 was a big deal. Everyone in the industry is talking about it or at least that's what our surveys say.  

Now the D.C. establisment has noticed as well. So is the Digitial party finally over?   

Today, TRUSTe settled FTC charges it deceived Consumers through its Privacy Seal Program. It was a shot across the bow from the agency showing that it will agressively protect consumers in the digital space.  

That's not all... Congress is also in on the act.

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ERA Responds to the FTC on the Telemarketing Sales Rule Review

by Bill McClellan on Nov 12, 2014 11:31:00 AM

The most important thing happening today here in the office is ERA’s response to the Federal Trade Commission’s review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). I know you probably haven’t focused on it yet though so I am posting ERA’s reply so you can see it first. I am submitting it later today to the government.

Marc Roth of Manatt served as primary drafter of the comments for our team working on it. The reset of the group included Blair Jackson of Invictus Law, Len Gordon Venable LLP, Linda Goldstein also of Manatt and Ed Glynn (ERA volunteer of the Year) of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. So basically an all-star team of industry heavyweights in the advertising/marketing law world responded to the FTC on this.

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Net Neutrality – Obama Enters the Ring

by Bill McClellan on Nov 11, 2014 1:13:00 PM

Well that was fast.  It appears that the post-election attempt at compromise and bipartisanship might be in danger.  Yesterday President Obama (again) announced his support for Net Neutrality.  We here at ERA have a long record of sharing the President’s support for an open and free Internet.

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Boehner Kills Internet Sales Tax Bill?

by Bill McClellan on Nov 11, 2014 12:00:00 PM Advocacy

Late this afternoon Steven Dennis over at Roll Call issued an explosive blog post that Speaker Boehner killed the Internet Sales Tax Bill for the upcoming lame duck session of Congress.
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Federal Trade Commission at 100 (FTC @ 100)

by Bill McClellan on Nov 7, 2014 1:41:00 PM Advocacy, Self Regulation

Happy 100th Birthday FTC!  

Earlier this morning I attended the FTC's 100th Anniversary Symposium.  You can read more about the day's festivities here.  

Lee Peeler, President of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) did a great job for the industry and ERA on his panel (below) explaining the importance of industry self-regulation.  Our ERSP Self-Regulation Program is lucky to have such a strong advocate.  

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A Sea Of Red

by Bill McClellan on Nov 5, 2014 4:36:00 PM Advocacy

Our strategic partners at National Journal have pulled together 2 maps of the 2014 Election Results for you below.  

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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.