With the rising level of customer sophistication and the widespread use of Amazon reviews, the days of huge profits for subpar products in direct response is quickly coming to an end. Gimmicks are quickly identified as such and once exposed, these products rarely make it to retail. If they do, they are doomed to fail quickly, afflicted by the weight of returns and a negative reputation.
Just about everyone in advertising or marketing who isn’t already a marketer has dreamed of having that winning product that will allow them to reap the fruit of their expertise from the client side of the desk, as opposed to that of a vendor. Such was the case back in 2013 when Michael Weinstein was driving across New York’s Westchester County, listening to shock jock Howard Stern on the radio. Weinstein, who today is Chief Marketing Officer for Allstar Products Group, was running a digital agency at the time. Stern had billionaire Mark Cuban as his guest and had thrown down a challenge to his staff: each of them took a turn pitching a product idea to Cuban to see if they could pique the businessman and investor’s interest. When it came time for producer Richie Wilson to pitch, he was flush with an idea: a disposal wet wipe in the shape of a mitten called, Shittens. The entire studio, not to mention the listening audience, was in stitches. Cuban’s response: “Shittens! Everyone needs one!”
On March 11, the direct response marketing industry came out in droves to attend the Electronic Retailing Association’s annual Network Chicago on the ROOF of theWit Hotel. Guests had a bird’s eye view of the Windy City’s picturesque skyline, as they mingled over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The highlight of the evening, of course, was the presentation of the 2018 ERA Achievers Awards, which recognized member companies for providing outstanding levels of leadership and financial support to ERA throughout 2017. The awards include two categories: marketer and supplier.
I recently learned that the direct-response television (DRTV) industry spent $6.4 billion on advertising in 2016, according to DRMetrix. Of that, $316 million was short-form advertising for consumer products. Put another way: The “As Seen on TV” brand received more than $300 million in advertising support last year. So it’s worth asking: What are consumer impressions of this brand we all share?