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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Mar, 2013 By: Doug McPherson, Thomas Haire Response


Response Q&A: From Demos to Production, McIntosh’s Story Is DR in a Nutshell

By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

BELLEAIR BLUFFS, Fla. — Rick McIntosh, president and CEO of McIntosh Productions, got his start in the DRTV business pitching the Smart Mop in front of live audiences at housewares events and home shows. “I had to learn how to sell something for $20 and convince a live audience — in three minutes — to part with it,” he recalls.

Today, after parlaying that success into solid work on the Home Shopping Network (HSN), McIntosh’s expertise in product demonstration has turned him into one of the most powerful producers in the direct response space.

Recently, Response sat down with McIntosh to discuss his past, present and future — and that of the DRTV business.

Q: What is your professional background and how did McIntosh Productions come into existence?

A: I was living in Boston when John Nokes gave me an opportunity to travel selling the Smart Mop while they were running heavy media in the half-hour format. I moved to Florida because I was working all over the country and wanted to live in a more desirable location to enjoy my time off. I selected Belleair Bluffs for that reason — and because it’s located in the backyard of HSN. I ended up being a guest on HSN, selling various products, when Bill McAllister of Media Enterprises gave me a break, and my first product was “The Do All Disc.” I started to learn the critical importance of the demonstration. After spending four hours prepping for a seven-minute live demonstration on HSN, we realized we could record it once and play it over and over again on the networks.

Q: How did you move into the production side of the business?

A: My first infomercial production was for the Rotato for TELEBrands. We used the format and the talent from HSN, and it ended up being an overnight success! Tristar Products became my first full-time client as a producer. I met Keith Mirchandani and shortly thereafter was producing all of their 30-minute infomercials, starting with the highly demonstrable breakthrough cleaning product Steam Buggy. It produced more than $300 million in sales. This was also while I was running the talent and product department at HSN for Tristar. I then discovered and produced “The 50 State U.S. Quarter Map and Coin Set,” which went on to sell more than 10 million pieces for Tristar and followed that up producing the Turbo Tiger line of products. I’ve always had an interest in inventing my own products and, more recently, I invented the Dreamie, partnering with Zoom TV Products and receiving a Best Short-Form Housewares Product Award from Jordan Whitney. I have gone on to produce eight new products and am currently enjoying my most successful three years to date.

Q: What does McIntosh Productions do for its clients?

A: McIntosh Productions works closely with its clients — who include Zoom TV, IdeaVillage, Allstar Marketing and Tristar Products — to understand their vision and objectives. We pride ourselves on doing thorough market research and work tirelessly to figure out the best demonstrations and talent to showcase the client’s products while making sure it appeals to the masses.

Q: What have been your two most successful campaigns? Why do you think they were so successful?

A: If I had to only pick two, I would have to say the Steam Buggy and the FUSHIGI Ball, which I co-created and produced. The Steam Buggy was groundbreaking in a sense because it introduced the world to steam cleaning. By creating such strong and powerful demonstrations, we were able to revolutionize the cleaning industry for DRTV. I’m very proud to say that those demonstrations are still being used 14 years later. The FUSHIGI Ball fit all the requirements for a winning two-minute spot. It was new, magical, compelling, mesmerizing, created illusions and drove the masses to the phone and Web because they had to see more!

Q: How does McIntosh Productions stand apart from other companies in this space?

A: It’s our passion that sets us apart. We take all the time needed and pay attention to the small details — and somehow, we are able to continue to work outside the box all while keeping the client’s vision at the forefront. It’s really personal to me. When we commit to producing a show, I eat sleep and drink that product! There is nothing more gratifying than walking into any retail store and seeing the products we produced coming to life on TV and, ultimately, on the shelves.

Q: What your plans for the next five years?

A: It’s obvious: to be the biggest and the best with the most success!


Coaching Legend Bob Knight Gives Response Expo Keynote April 2

By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Celebrated coach, mentor and historic sports icon Bob Knight is set to serve as keynote speaker for Response Expo 2013, scheduled to take place April 2-4 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The legendary coach led Indiana University through an historic 29-year run, winning three national titles at the school — part of a 41-year head coaching career at the NCAA Division I level. The address is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 2.

“Throughout his renowned career, Knight embraced the empowering effect teamwork had on the game,” says Response Expo executive director and Response Magazine publisher John Yarrington. “We’re extremely excited for a keynote that promises to be stirring, inspiring and living up in every way to his famous philosophy: The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.”

Few college basketball coaches have crafted a resume that can compete with Knight’s. During more than 41 seasons as a head coach at the NCAA’s highest level, Knight retired in 2008 with 902 career victories, then the most by any Division I-A coach (he currently ranks third all-time behind only Duke legend – and Knight protégé – Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim). He won three national titles during his 29-year run at Indiana University (1976, 1981, 1987), including coaching major college basketball’s most recent undefeated squad in 1976. Aside from his legendary stint at Indiana, he spent the first six years of his head coaching career at the U.S. Military Academy (starting at age 24) and his final six-plus seasons at Texas Tech University.

Nicknamed “The General” for his demanding style and success, Knight — who won another national championship as a player on the 1960 Ohio State team — also coached the 1984 U.S. men’s basketball team to the Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles.

Knight is his own man, one who represents high principles, expectations and demands for his players, his coaching staff and, most of all, himself. However, he is foremost an educator. His ability to teach young men the game of basketball and the game of life is one of his most noted characteristics. Committed to mentoring, Coach Knight’s coaching techniques and teaching skills place him in great demand as a speaker around the country, all the while as he serves as a college basketball commentator for ESPN.

Don’t miss what promises to be the latest in Response Expo’s incredible string of stirring, emotional, entertaining and enlightening keynote addresses. Register today at responseexpo.com.


FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz Steps Down

By Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) left his post on February 15. Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced on Feb. 1 he would step down after nine years on the commission. He served as chair for nearly four years.

In a press release, Leibowitz said that he’d been honored to “head this extraordinary, bipartisan Commission. Our small but mighty agency has safeguarded the privacy of Americans and stopped predatory financial practices by companies taking advantage of cash-strapped consumers. Our antitrust enforcement has helped contain health care and drug costs, and helped reduce prices and increase innovation for smartphones, computer chips and other high-tech products.”

During his tenure as chair, he made enforcement a major priority: the FTC filed more than 50 law enforcement actions to stop “last dollar” scams that prey on consumers in financial distress, such as foreclosure “rescue” and mortgage modification schemes, phony debt-reduction and credit-repair services, and bogus government grant opportunities, job scams, and get-rich quick frauds, with many state Attorneys General as partners.

Some of the other FTC accomplishments under Leibowitz include:

  • Raising the profile of privacy practices through law enforcement, consumer education and policy initiatives.
  • Overseeing a landmark report setting forth best privacy practices for businesses and updated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule that strengthens kids’ privacy by requiring that companies get parents’ permission before collecting personal information from their children under 13.
  • Returning nearly $108 million to more than 450,000 consumers — about 1 percent of all mortgage holders in the United States — who allegedly were overcharged or had their mortgage loans mishandled by Countrywide while they were in default or bankruptcy.
  • Taking aggressive, bipartisan action to stop sweetheart deals in which branded drug manufacturers allegedly paid potential generic rivals to delay their introduction of lower-cost pharmaceuticals — deals that the agency estimates cost consumers and taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
  • Continuing to identify and challenge health care mergers that would harm competition and drive up the cost of health care for both consumers and employers.
  • Ensuring that competition continued to thrive in the tech industry. In addition to a settlement with Google, the Commission reached another landmark agreement that prevented Intel Corp. from suppressing competition in the market for computer chips and opened the door to renewed competition.
  • Reining in alleged misuse of standard-essential patents, which could lead to patent hold-up and ultimately higher prices for popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles.
  • Launching an initiative to enhance its longstanding program to make sure the agency’s rules are up-to-date, effective and not overly burdensome.


About the Author: Doug McPherson


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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