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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports - September 2012

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

Field Reports

DRMA Marketer of the Year Announcement Set for Sept. 12
Top nominees vying for fourth annual honor will hear industry-wide voting results in Las Vegas.

By Thomas Haire (

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) and Response Magazine are proud to announce the top nominees for the Fourth Annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award.

Last year’s winner — Hearthware Inc. — returns to the competition, joining 16 other companies with spectacular success stories: BJ Global Direct, Bosley, GAIAM, Hampton Direct, IBC/Modern Media, ICON Health & Fitness, Ideal Living, Ideavillage Products Corp., LifeBrands Inc., Masterbuilt, Positec Tool Corp., SENSA Products LLC, Space Bag, Thane Direct, Torstar Media Group Television and Tristar Products.

“We’re thrilled to have the very best marketers in the direct response space as part of the Fourth Annual DRMA Marketer of the Year competition,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response and co-founder of the DRMA. “After allowing our Response Advisory Board to enter the initial nominees, these companies have stepped up to the plate and shown what industry leadership truly is. Not only that, but it’s a real thrill to have all three finalists back from 2011.”

The prestigious award recognizes the outstanding performance, accomplishments and innovation of a marketing company in the direct response industry. Previous winners include Hearthware (2011), Your Baby Can LLC (2010) and Allstar Marketing (2009). This year’s winner will be determined by an industry-wide E-mail vote conducted by third-party independent online election company Balloteer.

The finalists and winner will be announced during a special event on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the luxurious Chateau Rooftop, the club located outdoors directly underneath the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas resort.

Chateau combines classic French opulence with modern eclectic style, offering a sophisticated and unparalleled nightlife experience. The club’s indoor facility hosted last year’s Marketer of the Year event, but its new Rooftop club promises an even more exciting experience for partygoers who want to network in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, with a bird’s-eye view of Bellagio’s famous fountains.

The event — sponsored by Dial 800, LifeBrands Inc., OrderMotion, REVShare, Williams Worldwide TV and West Direct — will begin at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and will include cocktails, networking and the award ceremony.

Hal Wing, Creator of the Little Giant Ladder, Passes Away at 72

By Thomas Haire (

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Hal Wing, the founder of Wing Enterprises — manufacturer and marketer of the massive DRTV hit Little Giant Ladder — passed away on August 6 from heart complications. He was 72.

Wing’s patented Little Giant Ladder, which was a multi-million dollar hit on television during the past decade, was inspired upon a trip to Germany in the 1970s, where he saw a ladder prototype. Upon returning to the U.S., he patented his version of the idea and began operating Wing Enterprises out of his home.

“Hal Wing was an amazing entrepreneur who had the vision to turn around his company by employing an infomercial to market the Little Giant Ladder,” says Peter Koeppel, leader of Dallas-based Koeppel Direct, which served as a media buying agency for Little Giant Ladder. “He was a great pitchman, who could demonstrate his product better than anyone. He was truly one of a kind, and I think everyone who had the opportunity to work with him was touched by his passion for life, his product and business and was inspired by his tenacity and success.”

Wing suffered a heart attack while riding a dirt bike a few days before his death. He was able to retain his faculties during the interim and spoke with family members and employees of his company prior to passing.

Doug Wing, one of Hal’s seven children with wife Brigitte, told the Deseret News, “He was very giving and charitable to his employees — not only to them, but also to complete strangers.”

Wing, who at one time also served as mayor of Springville, was laid to rest on August 11. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Utah Fast Pass, a charitable organization that provides funds to several groups, including the Utah Highway Patrol’s Honoring Heroes Foundation (

Response Q&A

Pro Media Group Is the Latest to Shine in the CPA Space

By Thomas Haire (

In early 2011, direct response media veteran Sharon Lior joined forces with Mary Ram and Susan Pensabene to form Pro Media Group (PMG), an independent agency specializing in cost-peracquisition (CPA) media. Lior, who serves as the business' president, has more than 30 years of experience in the space and operates out of an office in Miami. The company’s home office is in Hoboken, N.J., with an additional satellite office in Orlando, operated by Lior’s nephew, Jonathan Peress. Recently, Response caught up with Lior to discuss how the first 18 months have gone for the new business.

Q: You’ve had lengthy career in direct response. How did you come to head up Pro Media Group?

A: I began my career more than 30 years ago with the David Geller Group. I moved from my original position there to become media director of MSG Advertising, a division of David Geller that specialized in CPA television. In the early 1990s, I joined Shain, Colavito, Pensabene (SCP) where I launched the firm’s per-inquiry division. Later, SCP was purchased by Omnicom and merged with Rapp Collins, eventually becoming OMD Direct,where I was vice president of OMD’s PI department for several years before joining REVShare. During my tenure at REVShare, I built the agency’s national television capabilities using my deep, proprietary relationships with the gatekeepers of remnant DRTV inventory. The cultivation of these relationships resulted in a 70-percent increase of REVShare’s annual media billings. Pro Media Group came into existence about 18 months ago when I decided that it was time to break out on my own. I contacted my former colleagues and friends — Susan Pensabene and Mary Ram, both industry veterans with their own impressive set of credentials — with the concept of building the biggest, best, independent, CPA agency in the country.

Q: What does Pro Media Group do for its clients that sets it apart from others in the space?

A: We help our clients build their businesses via our unique, robust network of CPA media. That network is comprised of proprietary television media — national cable, satellite and syndication, regional cable plus local broadcast stations. Additionally, Pro Media Group has a

growing network of alternative media partners.  We place our clients’ messages in the right media to generate the best possible results. At the same time, Pro Media Group holds relationships — built over many years — with the sales representatives that control the DRTV inventory at networks and stations across the nation. We specialize in negotiating unique, proprietary deals with these media outlets. These arrangements allow our clients access to this key media — with guaranteed results in terms of CPA — that can’t be brought to the table through any other CPA agency.

Q: What have been some of your more successful campaigns? Why do you think they had such success?

A: We are particularly strong within the following categories: insurance of all types — auto, dental, disability, health and life; home improvement; and products and services targeted to seniors (age 50-plus). Our two most successful campaigns fall in the insurance and home improvement categories. During the soft economy, we’ve found that consumers have a great need to find affordable health and dental insurance options. And, we’ve learned that people are interested in affordable ways to improve their homes, as opposed to attempting to sell their existing properties and buying new ones. In the 18 months that PMG has been in existence, we’ve generated nearly a half-million responses on behalf of our clients. And, when we compare the first half of 2011 with that of 2012, our gross media billings have increased by 200 percent. Furthermore, this growth curve continually moves in a steep, upward trajectory.

NAD: Testimonials on Pinterest Need Disclaimers

By Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON — Take note: if you post photos to Pinterest, the content sharing service on the Web, you have to make the same disclosures you do in other, more traditional forms of advertising. That’s a new rule from the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division (NAD).

It’s a rule that evidently arose after NAD said long-time DRTV marketer Nutrisystem failed to add disclaimers to photos it uploaded to a Pinterest page for an ad campaign touting “real customers.” The ad featured people who had lost weight — some more than 100 pounds — via Nutrisystem.

NAD said the photos and captions were testimonials, and found that Nutrisystem should have made a “complete disclosure of material information” – including that those in the ads were exceptional cases. Nutrisystem said omitting the disclaimers was an accident. The company has complied and added language explaining subjects in the ads were paid and that their results weren’t typical.

NAD has said before this case that marketers need to add disclosures on social media sites. Last November, it found problems with Coastal Contacts, the contact lens promoter, and its ad on Facebook. In that case, NAD found that it is okay for marketers to entice consumers into “liking” pages on Facebook with free offers, but marketers have to disclose the terms and conditions of the offers.

Coastal Contacts had asked consumers to “like” a Facebook page to get free glasses, but the ads said nothing of consumers having to pay shipping and that only certain styles of glasses and types of lenses were eligible for the offer.



Google Writes $22.5 Million Check to FTC

By Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON — Google Inc. had to pull out its checkbook to pay the largest fine ever levied by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): $22.5 million that will apparently settle allegations that it breached Apple’s Safari Internet browser. This is an FTC first for an Internet privacy violation. But it may not be last because the Commission has warned it’s beefing up enforcement of consumers’ online rights.

The FTC says Google tricked consumers and violated terms of a consent decree it signed with the FTC in 2011 when it put cookies on Safari — a move that let the company bypass Apple software’s privacy settings and track consumers’ Internet-browsing behavior.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says the fine “sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order … (and) all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.”

Accusations have plagued Google about the way it handles personal information. But, Google says it still has no fault in agreeing to the settlement.

In a statement, Google contends, “We set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users. The FTC is focused on a 2009 help-center page published more than two years before our consent decree, and a year before Apple changed its cookie-handling policy. We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple’s browsers.”

John Simpson, privacy project director for Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group, told Advertising Age he believes the fine is “woefully insufficient.” He added, “The commission has allowed Google to buy its way out of trouble for an amount that probably is less than the company spends on lunches for its employees and with no admission it did anything wrong.”


About the Author: Doug McPherson

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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