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Field Reports October 2012

1 Oct, 2012 By: Doug McPherson, Thomas Haire Response

SENSA Wins Fourth Annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award

SENSA Wins Fourth Annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award

By Thomas Haire (

LAS VEGAS — SENSA Products LLC was awarded the fourth annual Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award, largely due the weight-loss product’s multi-channel success in direct response. The award was presented in front of more than 900 attendees at a ceremony and cocktail event Sept. 12 under the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas resort’s Chateau Rooftop nightclub.

The reception, presented by Response Magazine and the DRMA, and sponsored by Dial800, Fosdick Fulfillment, LifeBrands, OrderMotion, REVShare, West Direct and Williams Worldwide Television, honored 17 nominees for the award and the three finalists — SENSA, Space Bag and Hampton Direct — as voted on in an industry-wide online balloting process.

“We’re thrilled that a huge crowd of industry leaders took time to join us in celebrating SENSA’s victory, as decided by those in the DR business,” says John Yarrington, publisher of
Response and co-founder of the DRMA. “It was an amazing night and a tribute to the 17 great marketers — especially the winner and other finalists, Space Bag and Hampton Direct — to see such an amazing turnout from the cream of the crop in direct response marketing.”

The fourth annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award competition included 17 nominees, each able to highlight three products or campaigns during the past 12 months. Those nominees were then submitted to voters from across the direct response marketing industry. Online voting garnered more than 1,000 votes in the competition. The innovative nominees, in addition to the top three, included 2011 winner Hearthware Inc., BJ Global Direct, Bosley, GAIAM, IBC/Modern Media, ICON Health & Fitness, Ideal Living, Ideavillage Products Corp., LifeBrands Inc., Masterbuilt, Positec Tool Corp., Thane Direct, Torstar Media Group Television and Tristar Products.

For full coverage of the winner and two other finalists, please turn to page 18 and read this month’s cover feature.

FTC: ‘Your Baby Can Read’ DeceptiveYour Baby Can Read

By Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues its war on alleged deception, this time targeting the marketers of long-time DRTV success Your Baby Can Read!

The FTC charges Your Baby Can LLC, Hugh Penton, Jr. (its former CEO), and the product’s creator, Robert Titzer, Ph.D, with false and deceptive advertising for claiming in ads and packaging infants and toddlers could be taught to read and that scientific studies proved it. The complaint also charges deceptive expert endorsements.

The company and Penton have agreed to settle with the FTC. The agency is initiating litigation against Titzer in federal court.

The settlement with Penton and Your Baby Can LLC prohibits the Carlsbad, Calif.-based defendants from further use of the term “Your Baby Can Read.” The settlement also imposes a $185 million judgment, which equals the company’s gross sales since January 2008. Upon Your Baby Can’s payment of $500,000, the remainder of the judgment will be suspended due to the company’s failing financial condition. Your Baby Can has represented that it is going out of business. If it is later determined that the financial information the company gave the FTC was false, the full amount of the judgment will become due.

Your Baby Can and Titzer represented that the program taught children as young as nine months old to read; gave children an early start on academic learning, making them more successful in life than those who didn’t use it; and that scientific studies proved these claims, according to the complaint. The program, marketed on the Web and infomercials, uses videos, flash cards and pop-up books that supposedly teach children as young as nine months old how to read.

One 30-minute television infomercial featured a home video of a two-year-old girl who used the program and is purportedly reading a page from the children’s book Charlotte’s Web. The girl’s mother then appears, saying that when her daughter was three years old, “She read her first Harry Potter book, and she fell in love with it.”

According to the complaint, the defendants sold the Your Baby Can Read! program to parents and grandparents of children aged three months to five years since at least January 2008, charging about $200 for each kit and taking in more than $185 million, directly via a toll-free number and their own websites. The defendants marketed the program on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and television infomercials and ads on network and cable stations such as Lifetime, Discovery Kids, Disney DX, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. It also was available for purchase online at and, as well as, at retail stores nationwide, including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Walgreens, Buy Buy Baby, Toys “R” Us, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

The complaint also says the defendants failed to provide competent and reliable scientific evidence that babies can learn to read using the Your Baby Can Read! program, or that children at age three or four can learn to read books such as Charlotte’s Web or the Harry Potter series.

Google Ends Five-Year Quest to Sell TV Ads

By Doug McPherson

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google has bowed out of its online marketplace for TV ads. Instead it’ll focus on Web advertising — including its own Google TV.

Shishir Mehrotra, a Google executive, announced the news in a blog post last week: “We launched Google TV Ads in AdWords to bring digital buying and measurement technologies to traditional TV advertising. So we’ve made the hard decision to close our TV Ads product over the next few months and move the team to other areas at Google.”

When Google launched its TV Ads program in 2007, the search giant promoted it as a way for small businesses to enter the ad game, and as an addition to the media plan of large advertisers.

Google will work on video solutions for its clients, like YouTube, AdWords for Video, and ad serving tools for Web video publishers. “We also see opportunities to help users access Web content on their TV screens, through products like Google TV,” Mehrotra wrote.

In January, Google reported that during 2011 it had seen a six-fold increase in the number of ads aired per day as its household reach across cable and satellite operators had tripled. Google TV Ads had nearly tripled its operator household reach since the start of 2011, to a total of 42 million households nationwide, it added.

Mehrotra said in his blog post that “lots of our clients bought traditional TV advertising for the first time.”

About the Author: Doug McPherson

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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