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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports - May 2014

1 May, 2014 By: Doug McPherson, Thomas Haire Response

Billick’s Message Resonates Throughout Response Expo Educational Sessions

By Thomas Haire (

SAN DIEGO — Super Bowl champion coach and current NFL television analyst Brian Billick drew a crowd of more than 600 attendees to the Response Expo 2014 Keynote Address, presented by Havas Edge, on April 29 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The coach of Super Bowl XXXV champion Baltimore Ravens of 2001 kicked off the Expo with a message about relationships, accountability and creating the right mix of personnel to form successful teams and businesses.

“You have to become a chief connection officer,” Billick said during a 60-minute presentation including a wide-open Q&A session. “Remember, people don’t care what you think until they know you care.”

Other gems from the witty and thoughtful former NFL headman included, “Those that won’t are no better than those that can’t’”; “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!”; and a three-step process for communicating with everyone on your team: “Ask, listen and solve.”

Steve Netzley, CEO of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Havas Edge, which sponsored the keynote, says, “As with the keynote speakers from past Expos, Coach Billick’s lesson about how he was able to build a successful organization and culture was insightful. I’m proud to have been a part of bringing another wonderful presenter to Expo attendees.”

Billick wasn’t only working the keynote stage on April 29, though. He was also one of many attendees at the Pre-Show Intensive (sponsored by Dial800) earlier in the day. The event featured a panel of six DR leaders — including experts from marketers like T-Fal and Murad — moderated by Dial800 COO James Diorio.

“The Pre-Show Intensive was excellent, and it was so cool to have Coach Billick there,” says Rick Petry, a long-time DR industry leader from Portland, Ore.

The week’s nine educational sessions, which drew more than 550 attendees on April 30-May 1, mixed top marketers — including the Direct Response Marketing Alliance’s 2013 Marketer of the Year finalists themselves — and the key TV network partners who help drive direct response campaigns. Two of those network sessions — one featuring representatives from Viacom Media Networks, Turner Broadcasting, A&E Television Networks and Discovery Communications and another with speakers from DISH Network, DirecTV and Comcast 360 — saw standing-room only crowds.

On May 1, a panel made up of six of the inductees to the Direct Response Hall of Fame shared the wisdom of decades of success with a lucky group of attendees in the panel session. At the ceremony itself, the sextet — Chickie Bucco, Tim Hawthorne, AJ Khubani, Collette Liantonio, Tony Little and Katie Williams — was joined by fellow inductees Gary and Mary West and Suzanne Somers. Billy Mays, who passed away in 2009, was saluted with both a moment of silence and a warm round of applause.

“Response Expo was awesome,” says Kevin Lyons, CEO & founder of Opportunity Media in Huntington, N.Y. “Billick’s keynote speech was excellent, and the DR Hall of Fame event was spectacular.”

Liantonio, leader of Boonton, N.J.-based Concepts TV Productions and Hall of Fame inductee, says she and her team were thrilled to take part in the event. “The event was simply first class,” she says. “It was just so well run and had a perfect tone. I was so touched to be inducted and to be able to share it with so many of my friends and colleagues over the years.”

More Ad Lawsuits Possible After Supreme Court Decision

By Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON — A Supreme Court decision last month in a case involving Lexmark Intl. could mean more false-advertising lawsuits.

“Ultimately it will lead to more lawsuits because, historically, there has been this question of whether use of the Lanham Act was limited to direct competitors,” Linda Goldstein, a partner with Manatt Phelps & Phillips told AdAge. “This really opens up the field to a wider spectrum of plaintiffs.”

And Randy Miller, an ad lawyer at Venable LLP, says by simply weighing in on the Lanham Act (which relates to false advertising), the Supreme Court has raised the profile of the law and that by itself could spark more company vs. company lawsuits.

Miller told AdAge the new attention the court gave “makes clear that not only is it available … but it’s actually broader than people thought.”

In the case, Lexmark, a printer cartridge maker, was at odds with a company called Static Control, a microchip maker that let other companies remake used Lexmark cartridges so that they could be used again. Lexmark wanted consumers to return cartridges for a “prebate” that could be used for discounts on new cartridges.

Using the Lanham Act, Static Control alleged that Lexmark “purposefully misleads end-users” to believe that they are legally bound by the prebate terms and are thus required to return prebate-labeled cartridges to Lexmark after a single use, according to court documents. A district court ruled that Static lacked standing to sue, but an appellate court reversed that decision.

The Supreme Court decision allowed Static Control’s claim to proceed, even though Static is not a direct competitor of Lexmark. By doing that, the court set new rules for who can sue in such cases. The opinion, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, stated that “to invoke the Lanham Act’s cause of action for false advertising, a plaintiff must plead (and ultimately prove) an injury to a commercial interest in sales or business reputation proximately caused by the defendant’s misrepresentations.”

Goldstein says the opinion will not alter typical “brand war” cases in which one company sues a direct competitor for false advertising. Rather, the ruling opens the door for suppliers and other interested parties to sue.

As a result, marketers crafting ad campaigns should give “a little more thought to who might sue you,” says Peter Raymond, a litigation partner with Reed Smith who specializes in false advertising cases.

“Sometimes for one reason or another you kind of know your direct competitor may not assert a claim,” he says. “But now you have to think about more remote injuries and people who you didn’t even think about who might sue you if you are not careful about what you say in your advertising.”

He noted that the Lanham Act is still not available for consumers or consumer groups, which typically must rely on state consumer protection statutes.

Attendees Marvel Over Response Expo’s Networking Events

By Thomas Haire (

SAN DIEGO — As long time attendees know, Response Expo’s networking events are the hub of deal-making and flat-out fun during the show. And this year’s series of seven networking events — five cocktail receptions, the Seventh Annual Golf Tournament and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony — once again allowed Expo veterans and newcomers alike the chance to mix, mingle, drive business and have a great time.

From Monday night’s Kick-Off Party all the way through to the Closing Night Party at Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), which featured a surprise performance from hip-hop legend Young MC, opportunities to connect were around every corner.

“From start to finish, the show was top notch!” says Kristy Pinand-Dumpert, vice president of sales and marketing for Concepts TV Productions in Boonton, N.J. — and reigning Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Member of the Year. “And, of course, the icing on the cake was ‘busting a move’ with Young MC!”

The Kick-off Party, sponsored by Lockard & Wechsler Direct and hosted at the rooftop lounge of San Diego’s swanky Hotel Andaz on April 28, started the week’s networking opportunities. It was the third annual “party before the show,” and led nicely into the next morning’s sold-out golf tournament, which featured breakfast, on-course beverages, fun and games at various holes, and an awards lunch. Golf attendees also showed off their charitable sides, kicking off the Expo’s push to promote Someone Cares, a San Diego-based charity that provides support for the homeless. By the end of the show, Expo attendees had donated more than $2,000 to the cause.

Following the Keynote Address, All-Access Badge holders enjoyed the Opening Night Party in the Sapphire Foyer and Terrace of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. On April 30, attendees were treated to a first-class time at the Venable Justice League Party. Later in the evening, All-Access Badge holders became true networking superheroes during the poolside Masked Marvels Celebration, sponsored by Imagine Fulfillment Services (IFS) and Icon Media Direct.

Expo attendees capped off the three-day event with a private party at Petco Park, and a lively 30-minute surprise performance from Southern California-based rapper Young MC, whose 1989 hit “Bust A Move” remains a showstopper.

“It was another fabulous Response Expo,” says Mark Sullivan, vice president of direct response and paid programming for Viacom Media Networks. “From Viacom’s perspective, it may have been our best one yet!”

Adds Bob Aloisio, vice president of sales and marketing for Chicago-based TTC Marketing Solutions, “The show — and all of the events and parties — was outstanding. TTC exhibits at and I attend a lot of shows and events each year, and Response Expo is by far the best.”

Expo Hall Reverberates With Deals and Excitement

By Thomas Haire (

SAN DIEGO — With more than 3,300 attendees, Response Expo’s show floor was the center of the action during the event at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on April 29-May 1. Attendees mixed and mingled for two days in the Expo Hall, which featured a bevy of prominent booths including those of Thill Logistics and Dial800 — as well as the new Masters of the Digital Universe Pavilion, sponsored by Manatt Phelps & Phillips. For the fourth straight year, the New Product Pavilion showcased soon-to-be successes as well as top DR hits, while three networking lounges on or near the show floor helped fuel traffic.

“We are on our way to closing a sale with a prospective client I’ve been calling on for more than 20 years,” says Collette Liantonio, president of Boonton, N.J.-based Concepts TV Productions and a 2014 DR Hall of Fame inductee. “He’s nearby us in Edison, N.J., but he’s always stuck with radio until we met again in San Diego. We do great business at Response Expo.”

The New Product Pavilion, powered by Top Dog Direct and located in the center of the tradeshow floor, saw a substantial amount of foot traffic, as did the Bloody Mary Bar and Coffee Bar (presented by Litle & Co. and Response), which offered complimentary coffee and bloody marys to attendees.

Just outside the Expo Hall on the Sapphire Patio, LifeBrands, Rovi, O’Currance and West Direct sponsored the Beer and Wine Garden, which featured food for purchase, as well as complimentary beer and wine. And on Wednesday, April 29, All-Access Badge holders were treated to a complimentary lunch, courtesy of Applied Perceptions.

At the same time, the Invention Home Inventor Pavilion welcomed the creators behind more than 70 new products looking for one shot at DR success, driving plenty of visitors to their end of the Expo Hall.

With a number of major TV and cable network groups setting up shop inside the Hilton — from the ground-level pool area through the second-level lobby bar and all the way up to the Expo level on the fourth floor — a palpable vibe permeated the Hilton, no matter where you looked.

“It was great to see the agency/network community in full force at the Hilton this year — it was the buzz of the show,” says Tim Silvia, director of sales, direct response, for New York-based Comcast Media 360. “From our point of view, the proximity of attendees allowed for many unplanned yet productive meetings.”

Adds Brian Norris, director of national advertising sales for DISH Network in New York, “Response Expo was one of the best yet this year. So many on my team commented on how well run the event was. We were thrilled to be at the Hilton this year and are committed to doing the majority of our meetings there in coming years.”

About the Author: Doug McPherson

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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