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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

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


Euro-Pro Wins Fifth Annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award

By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

LAS VEGAS — Euro-Pro LLC won the fifth annual Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award, largely due the power of its Shark and Ninja housewares brands. The award was presented in front of more than 800 attendees at a ceremony and cocktail event at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Vanity Nightclub on Sept. 25.

The reception, presented by Response Magazine and the DRMA, and sponsored by The ADS Group, Dial800, DirayTV, LifeBrands, PowerPay, REVShare and West Direct, honored all 13 nominees for the award. The spotlight shone brightest on the three finalists — Euro-Pro, Hampton Direct and Tristar Products — as voted on in an industry-wide online balloting process.

“It was another exciting night for all DRMA members. To see hundreds of them take the time to join us in celebrating Euro-Pro’s victory — as decided by our industry — was thrilling,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response and co-founder of the DRMA. “It’s also a tribute to the 13 great marketers — including the other finalists, Hampton Direct and Tristar Products — to see such an amazing turnout from the cream of the crop in direct response marketing.”

Euro-Pro is based in Newton, Mass., and has been a dominant player in the DRTV space for a number of years, utilizing it to drive incredible retail success and branding. The company’s DRTV/retail model includes developing innovative housewares products on a continual basis, launching with DRTV support and widespread retail distribution, and often simultaneously having four-to-five products in the top 20 of leading industry ranking charts. Shark is the top-selling steam mop brand in the world. The Shark Rotator vacuum is the fastest-growing vacuum brand. Ninja Blenders are the top-selling professional-style blender in many national retail chains.

For a third consecutive year, Hampton Direct earned finalist recognition, moving from third-place finishes in 2011 and 2012 to a second-place showing in the industry-wide vote this year. The company, which moved much of its leadership team to Woodland Hills, Calif., in the past year, added to its long line of popular and successful products during the past year with new hits like Chillow, WaxVac and Wraptastic. Fairfield, N.J.-based Tristar Products credits its third-place finish to its sales, marketing and operations team; its social media efforts online in support of its megahit Genie Bra brand; and its expansive efforts to grow the brand in international markets.

The fifth annual competition included 13 nominees, each able to highlight three products or campaigns during the past 12 months. Those nominees were then submitted to voters across the DR marketing industry. Online voting garnered more than 1,400 votes in the competition. The nominees, in addition to the top three, included 2012 winner SENSA Products LLC, as well as Bosley, LifeBrands Inc., Murad, Positec USA, Plymouth Direct/McAlister, Quten Research Institute LLC, TELEBrands Corp., Thane Direct and Zumba Fitness.

Find full coverage of the winner and two other finalists in the cover story on page 22.


Phone Protection Act Changes Effective Oct. 16

By Doug McPherson

NEW YORK — Attorneys say your next marketing campaign could get mired in class action lawsuits if you don’t comply with the recent revisions to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted two additional protections on unwanted autodialed and robocalls that become effective October 16:

  1. Prior express written consent: Unambiguous written consent is required before a telemarketing call or text message. Calls that are manually dialed and do not contain a pre-recorded message are exempt.
  2. No “established business relationship” exemption: An established business relationship no longer relieves advertisers of prior unambiguous written consent requirement.

So starting this month, prior express written consent will be required for all autodialed and pre-recorded calls or texts sent to cell phones and pre-recorded calls made to residential land lines for marketing purposes.

Penalties for violations range from $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited call or message. Attorneys say in determining the final amount of statutory damages to award, courts analyze whether the defendant “willfully” or “knowingly” violated the TCPA. Considering that telemarketing campaigns often involve thousands to, in some cases, millions, of calls and text messages, potential damages could easily reach into the millions of dollars.

In a press release, Klein Moynihan Turco LLP, a law firm in New York, said compliance with the E-SIGN Act satisfies this requirement, meaning that electronic or digital forms of signature are acceptable (such as agreements obtained via E-mail, website form, text message, telephone keypress or voice recording).

The firm also said consumer consent must be unambiguous, meaning consumers must receive a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that they will get future autodialed or pre-recorded telemarketing messages from a specific advertiser; that their consent is not a condition of purchase; and they must designate a phone number at which to be reached that should not be pre-populated by the advertiser in an online form. Limited exceptions apply to this requirement, such as calls or texts from the consumer’s cellular carrier, debt collectors, schools, informational notices and healthcare-related calls.

If a dispute concerning consent arises, the advertiser bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that a clear and conspicuous disclosure was provided and that consumers unambiguously consented to receive telemarketing calls to the number they provided. Attorneys suggest advertisers keep consumers’ written consent for at least four years, which is the federal statute of limitations to bring an action under the TCPA.

Klein Moynihan Turco LLP adds that evidence of Internet-provided written consent includes, but is not limited to, website pages with consumer consent language and fields, associated screenshot of the consent webpage as seen by the consumer where the phone number was inputted, complete data record submitted by the consumer (with time and date stamp), together with the applicable consumer IP address.


Kantar: 2Q Ad Spending Rises 3.5 Percent

By Doug McPherson

NEW YORK — Marketers upped their spending in U.S. in the second quarter by 3.5 percent (totaling $35.8 billion) compared to the same quarter in 2012, Kantar Media says.

Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America (a research partner of Response), said in a statement that ad spending has now increased for six consecutive quarters and that the 3.5-percent mark is the best performance in a non-Olympic period since the end of 2010.

But two unusual phenomena helped the gain: advertisers conserving their second-quarter 2012 budgets before the Summer Olympics, and more NBA playoff games in the quarter this year than last year.

“Without these factors, second-quarter ad spend growth would have been lower by about one full percentage point,” Swallen said.

TV headlined the ad market in 2Q 2013 with overall growth of 6.4 percent, thanks in part to those post-season basketball games. Cable TV spending jumped 14.9 percent due in part to a larger number of NBA playoff telecasts as well as higher primetime ad prices at leading networks. Network TV expenditures rose 4.9 percent, with comparisons helped by the extra revenue from a seven-game NBA championship series (versus five games in 2012).

Spot TV expenditures declined 3.5 percent in the period. The reduced volume of political ad spending that regularly occurs in odd-numbered years is becoming more of a drag for local stations as the year progresses. Excluding the political category, spot TV ad spending was level versus a year ago.

Spanish Language TV spending increased 6.1 percent in the second quarter on higher budgets from direct response marketers, auto manufacturers and restaurants. Hispanic networks continue to see stronger results than local market Hispanic stations.

Internet display advertising increased 4.1 percent during the period. Spending totals, which do not include either video or mobile ad formats, got a significant lift from both financial services and telecom advertisers. Investments by travel and tourism advertisers also increased leading into the key summer vacation season.

Outdoor media expenditures were up 7.4 percent in the second quarter, the 13th-consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases, and were spurred by healthy gains from its core categories of restaurants, local retail and local service businesses. Outdoor media also continues to see gains due to the expansion of new digital formats.

Radio had mixed results. Spending in national spot radio rose 5.8 percent with strong demand from the telecom, restaurant and retail segments. But local radio fared less well as quarterly expenditures dropped 1.6 percent.

Kantar’s 2Q 2013 breakout reports about the short-form DRTV and DR radio markets will appear in the November and December issues of Response, respectively.



FTC to Study Native Advertising in December

By Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that, in its first workshop on native advertising on December 4, it will work to determine if consumers know for sure if sponsored content is advertising, and to examine the blending ads with news, entertainment and other content in digital media.

The session will include industry reps, academics, consumer advocates and regulators to explore “changes in how paid messages are presented to consumers and consumers’ recognition and understanding of these messages.”

Laura Sullivan, an attorney with the FTC, told AdAge that the workshop is being held primarily to better the agency’s understanding of native advertising. But, she added, the agency has examined similar areas such as infomercials, search engine marketing, and advertorials, and in some instances, the FTC has brought lawsuits in those areas.

However, the workshop is not an indication that actions by the FTC are imminent, Sullivan said. “We certainly will weigh the information and consider what the next steps will be,” she said. “I think it’s premature to say that there will be any next steps.”

Digital publishers are looking to prevent the FTC from getting more deeply involved. The Online Publishers Association (OPA) released research in July that showed labeling native advertising clearly was a top priority for its members.

“In a recent survey of OPA members on native advertising, transparency and labeling surfaced as a critical best practice,” said OPA President Pam Horan. “We encourage the industry at large to embrace this as it is not only important to maintaining a trusted relationship with the consumer but demonstrates to lawmakers and the administration that self-regulation works.”

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced in June that it was creating a taskforce on native advertising to explore best practices and definitions. The organization said it will participate in the FTC’s workshop if invited.

 


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

About the Author: Doug McPherson

Thomas Haire

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