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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports - September 2011 Issue

1 Sep, 2011 By: Jackie Jones, Digby Orsmond Response

QVC Insider, here featuring Martine Digby of the popular London Collection, is sent to QVC Germany’s customers.

QVC Germany Celebrates 15 Years by Setting Revenue Records

By Digby Orsmond

DUSSELDORF, Germany — QVC Germany celebrates its 15th year in 2011 and the company continues to retain its position as Germany’s largest and most successful multimedia teleshopping business. In 2010, revenues increased to more than €719 million (a €35 million jump from 2009), while increasing its customer base to 6.2 million.

Launched in 1996 with just 30 staffers, QVC Germany has grown to nearly 3,500 employees in four locations. Thirty-three percent of the executive positions are held by women.

“Our staff is proud of the satisfaction of our customers,” Dr. Ulrich Flatten, CEO of QVC Germany, says. “At our two call centers, we talk to our customers an average of 73,000 times a day (27 million calls per year). About half a million of these customers regularly use our print media, and over 52 million visit our online shop ( each year. Every day, some 44,000 parcels leave our own logistics center, and we have our many customers to thank for our teleshopping market share of over 50 percent in Europe’s most dynamic economy.”

As one of the biggest distance trading firms in Germany, the QVC TV signal can be received in more than 40 million homes. Also, the channel is available to viewers in Austria, adding to the number of potential buyers.

In September 2010, QVC Germany unveiled a new corporate identity that included a more modern logo to go with the motto, “QVC — Ideas for Me!” Just as important has been the launch of a second channel called QVC PLUS. Here, highlighted QVC products are presented in distinctive categories. This allows the most popular products and programs to be repeated for categories such as beauty and wellness, cooking and vitality, or jewelry and watches.

Online business is growing year-on-year, and in addition to the classic television presentation, QVC Germany also streams full programs on the Internet, iPhone and iPad. This means that a growing number of customers are managing their own QVC viewing time on a much more personal basis. In addition the company also mails out a very popular TV guide called “Showfenster” with every order. Content includes topical articles on new shows, products and show personalities, a program guide, targeted product inserts, and a sales guide for new customers.

Social networks are increasingly important to QVC Germany’s overall marketing mix, which means that both Twitter and YouTube are used tactically to spread news of upcoming shows or QVC events of any kind. Facebook is especially important to stay in touch with QVC’s customers, taking them behind the scenes, posting exclusive interviews with hosts or celebrities, and receiving valuable customer feedback in return.

When selecting products, the QVC Germany team adheres to strict criteria: only products that are innovative and high quality are sold on the channel. Quality assurance is particularly important as QVC Germany adheres to the strict European standards with all products being tested via external institutes and the TÜV (German Technical Board of Control).

Dr. Ulrich Flatten
Dr. Ulrich Flatten

QVC Germany is always looking for new shows, and the London Collection has proved a hit with collectors of designer fashion jewelry. Founder and show presenter Martine Digby says, “Fashion jewelry has been worn for generations by British royalty as well as Hollywood movie stars. Fortunately, I speak several European languages fluently so presenting on QVC Germany is not a problem for me. London has always been perceived by Europeans as a fashionable city and even more so now with the young royals William and Katherine generating positive headlines around the world. For me, this is a very dynamic home shopping channel, and that’s why I’m delighted my London Collection show is exclusive to QVC in Germany.”

The growing London Collection sales on QVC Germany are proof that the convenience of 24-hour home shopping appeals to European jewelry buyers, especially as many retail shops in these countries close early on Saturdays and completely on Sundays. Attracting local talent, as well as international shows from QVC in the United States and United Kingdom is just one of the many reasons why QVC Germany is competing so strongly in its market.

The bottom line is simply this: becoming one of the most successful European home shopping channels requires dynamic leadership supported by dedicated and professional teamwork. It appears to millions of happy customers that QVC Germany — under Flatten’s leadership — has the multimedia marketing formula just right.

Digby Orsmond is CEO and creative director at London-based ARM Direct Ltd. He is an expert on the European direct response space and a long-time member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board.

Hearthware Files Suit Against EMSON Over Trademark Dispute of Oven Products

By Jackie Jones (

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. — Hearthware Inc., marketer of the NuWave Oven, has filed a federal lawsuit against E. Mishan & Sons Corp. (EMSON), alleging the marketer’s sale of the Sharper Image Super Wave Oven violates copyright and trademark infringement laws, as well as false advertising, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.

Both DR marketers are well known in the industry and were recently named as finalists in the 2011 Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year award (set to be presented on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas).

“The NuWave Oven is an extremely successful and popular brand, and we will not tolerate trademark or copyright infringements. It is apparent that E. Mishan & Sons has confused consumers into thinking that the Super Wave is part of Hearthware’s NuWave line. Consumers have called us with their complaints about the Super Wave and expressed actual confusion,” said Lewis T. Steadman Jr., general counsel for Hearthware. “It appears that the Super Wave is an attempt to copy us and benefit from our hard work and success, but they cannot match Hearthware’s commitment to quality, innovation and customer service.”

The Sharper Image Super Wave oven is manufactured and sold under license of The Sharper Image. The Super Wave brand itself is a federally registered trademark of EMSON and is one of the many “Wave” products sold by EMSON over a period of many years, including the Bacon Wave, Sausage Wave and Chip Wave, according to Eddie Mishan, EMSON president.

“EMSON strongly believes the lawsuit, which, among other things, claims that the Super Wave trademark infringes NuWave, is frivolous and is completely without merit,” Mishan said. “As it has historically done, EMSON will fight the lawsuit and intends to vigorously defend itself against all of the allegations in the complaint with all of its resources.”

Hearthware’s lawsuit is an example of the “increasingly common tactic in the direct marketing industry (used to) disrupt fair competition,” according to Mishan.

“It’s clear that this is a desperate attempt by Hearthware to intimidate EMSON,” he added. “We have no intention of allowing that to happen.”

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 2 in Chicago’s Northern District of Illinois. Hearthware is continuing to gather evidence of “customer confusion and vigorously defend the strong NuWave trademarks,” according to Steadman, who added the company is preparing to take the lawsuit to trial.

Wealthier Americans More Cognizant of Online Advertising, IAB Finds

By Jackie Jones (

NEW YORK — Though higher-income Americans are the hardest to reach via traditional media, they are more likely to be aware of new products, companies and sites after viewing marketing messages online, according to a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Of consumers in homes with annual incomes of at least $100,000, 98 percent use the Internet, spending 26.2 hours online weekly, 17.6 hours watching TV and 7.5 hours listening to the radio. This is in comparison to the general population, where 79 percent use the Internet, spend just 21.7 hours on the Internet, 34 hours watching TV and 16 hours listening to the radio, according to the “Affluent Consumers in a Digital World” study.

“Affluents have long been one of the hardest to reach and most important consumer groups,” said Sherrill Mane, senior vice president of industry services at the IAB. “They’re now more important than ever — not only do they control most consumer spending power, but they may be the key to leading our economy out of the recession. And the new research shows that when it comes to digital media, the old paradigm has been superseded: the wealthiest Americans use digital media far more than their less affluent counterparts.”

According to the survey, affluents overall currently comprise 21 percent of U.S. households, have 70 percent of all consumer wealth and spend 3.2 times more than other Americans on purchases.

Affluent Americans’ greater understanding of the ad-supported Web model and the benefits of ad targeting contribute to their receptivity of digital advertising, according to the IAB study.

“Affluent consumers have increasingly come to desire relevant and customized experiences, in part because they are living technology-infused lifestyles,” said Bob Shullman, president of Ipsos Mendelsohn, which conducted the study for the IAB. “Virtually all the affluent are online. Their ownership of tablets and e-readers has increased by 50 percent over the past six months, and shows every indication of continued growth. They have come to expect the benefits of digital media, even if it doesn’t alleviate all work-life pressures.”

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