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Direct Response Marketing

IMS Top 50 Infomercials and Spots of 2012

1 Dec, 2012 By: Elizabeth A. Kline, Jennifer Muniz, Mike Pewterbaugh, Thomas Haire Response


Once again, Response Magazine is proud to present one of its most popular annual features. For the 11th consecutive year, Infomercial Monitoring Service Inc. (IMS) has provided its ranking of the top 50 infomercials and short-form spots.

While short-form’s influence within the direct response market continues to expand, the long-form infomercial held its own in 2012, regaining some ground that had been lost during the Great Recession. However, while new marketers continue to have positive results, big success in the As Seen On TV sector of the DRTV media world seems to be consolidating among a number of the industry’s long-time leading marketers.


The Industry’s Top Marketers Put a Stranglehold on the Rankings

By Mike Pewterbaugh, IMS Executive Print Production Manager

Congratulations to Beachbody’s Insanity, IMS’ top ranking infomercial of 2012. Insanity dominated 2012 with substantially more airings and media than any other campaign.

Beachbody also flexed its muscles with Brazil Butt Lift, P90X, 10-Minute Trainer, Les Mills Pump and Rockin’ Body, all of which ranked in the year’s top 100 infomercials. Guthy-Renker’s Meaningful Beauty finished with a strong second-place showing in long-form media expenditures, while its Wen product also landed in the top 10. Guthy-Renker also boasted Natural Advantage, Proactiv Solution and Sheer Cover in the top 100.

Hearthware had a pair of top-10 hits with NuWave Precision Cooktop and NuWave Oven Pro, while Euro-Pro placed three shows in the top 20, including Shark Navigator Lift Away, Shark Steam Pocket and Ninja 1100. The company’s Shark Lift Around, Ninja Cooking System, Ninja Pulse and Shark Rotator all finished in the top 100.

Zumba Fitness LLC’s increasingly popular Zumba finished the year at No. 3 overall in the infomercial rankings, while American Telecast’s long-running favorite, Total Gym, ranked fifth overall. LifeBrands’ My Pillow broke into the top 10, finishing No. 7.

Not only was Guthy-Renker successful in long-form DRTV, but its legendary Proactiv Solution product earned top billing as the most frequently detected short-form DRTV spot in 2012, beating out Obesity Research’s Lipozene, which finished second. Flex Seal stuck it to the competition, securing a place in the top 5 spots of the year.

Meanwhile, New Vitality scored a massive hit with Super Beta Prostate and — to a lesser degree — with Ruby Reds. Hampton Direct had another impressive year, with InstaHang, PajamaJeans, Total Pillow, Stretch Genie and Furniture Fix all performing well on TV and moving into retail. And fitness leader ICON Health and Fitness enjoyed more short-form success with the Pro-Form Ab Glider and the Pro-Form Tour de France trainer revving up metabolisms across the U.S.

Gray Away from Wellquest Intl. found its way into the top 10 spots, while TELEBrands launched yet another army of products in 2012, including: Slice-O-Matic, Plaque Blast, Orgreenic, Diamond Z4, Edge of Glory, Lint Lizard, Chef Basket, One-Second Needle, My Zone, Aluma Wallet, Deep Romance, Sticky Buddy, Slim Away, Shed Pal, Snap On Feathers, Bake Pops, InstaBulb, Comfy Control and Pet Rider. Many of these products have been pushed into retail stores.

Harvest Direct scored a new hit with Grout Bully and also released the Twist N Clip and the Jack Rack. Vince Offer brought back the Schticky and reminded us of his ShamWow and Slap Chop pitches of old, while Emson had a number of successful products in 2012, including the Bell & Howell Micro Plus, the Bell & Howell iScope and the Bell & Howell Solar Charger.

To Plymouth Direct and McAlister’s credit, Fast Brite performed well as did Instant Trainer and Tag Away. National Express and McAlister released a new incarnation of the Sobakawa Pillow that did well and also introduced the X Hose.

Allstar Products Group promoted a number of new and popular items, such as the Trendy Top, Forever Lazy, EZ Moves, Roto-Punch, EZ Eyes, Magic Mesh, Perfect Meatloaf, Eggies, Half Time, Hot Booties and Forever Comfy. Fellow industry stalwart Tristar Products brought a series of new products to the table as well, including The Rack, Genie Bra, Ab Roller Evolution and Silly Slippeez.

Staying in the As Seen On TV space’s East Coast corridor, IdeaVillage advertised the Micro Touch Max, Music Bullet, YoshiBlue and the Criss Angel Magic Kit. And Ontel Products Group saw more success with Miracle Socks, Salon Express, Dream Lites and Strutz Sole Angels.


Housewares Spots Challenge Fitness Sector in Short-Form DRTV

By Jennifer Muniz, IMS Short-Form Manager

In previous years, health and fitness has always been the largest category for new spots, but in 2012, housewares products came out on top.

This year has been filled with products to make consumers’ lives easier, such as Hampton Direct’s Stretch Genie, the easy way to stretch any pair of shoes to fit your feet. Pillow products also have been battling it out, with the Sobakawa Pillow from National Express/McAlister ranking No. 30, the Total Pillow by Hampton Direct ranking No. 34, and LifeBrands’ My Pillow ranking No. 40.

Another useful product for everyday life is the reusable lint roller, which returned to the As Seen On TV space with a vengeance in 2012. The Schticky ended the year ranked No. 16 overall, and the Sticky Buddy also spent plenty of time on the IMS charts throughout the year.

Hose products also had a resurgence, with the X Hose from National Express and Tristar’s FlexAble Hose, a lightweight compact hose that is easy to use and store anywhere, both making waves.

Throughout 2012, there have been a number of new spots for men’s performance products, including New Vitality’s Ageless Male ranking No. 3, Super Beta Prostate ranking No. 6, and Cyvita ranking No. 25. Men’s performance products have been prevalent over the years with such memorable spots as Extenze from Biotab Nutraceuticals, Enzyte by Vianda and Progene by Progene HealthCare, so it is interesting to see new products topping the charts in this space. Hulk Hogan has made quite an impression on the direct response industry by acting as spokesman for New Vitality’s Ageless Male and Super Beta Prostate.

New products from Allstar Products Group and TELEBrands consistently dominate the short-form market each year and continue to keep us on our toes. Allstar had a great year with frequent new spots ranking consistently — including the Perfect Tortilla at No. 20, Trendy Top at No. 31, and Forever Lazy at No. 41. TELEBrands’ prolific year of new spots includes Diamond z4 at No. 35 and late entrants Deep Romance and the Olde Brooklyn Lantern, which are likely to figure in 2013 rankings.

Though household products may have taken some more of the spotlight in 2012, health and fitness still maintained a strong presence, offering a wide array of new and interesting ways to lose weight quickly. Lipozene by Obesity Research Institute ranked No. 2. Consumers are always looking for a quick and easy way to lose pounds, and Lipozene was apparently the answer.


Jenny Craig’s new spokeswoman was also a new mother of twins — Mariah Carey — who needed to lose the baby weight and had amazing results with the program. Weight Watchers attempted to expand the appeal of its weight-loss program to men by featuring former NBA star Charles Barkley, who lost a significant amount of weight, and Nutrisystem Success celebrated its 40th anniversary by offering special deals to consumers. These weight-loss programs have been battling it out on IMS’ weekly spot ranking throughout 2012.

For the past couple of years, it has been obvious that consumers are hesitant about purchasing novelty items. This year was no different, as IMS saw very little activity in this category even with the approaching holiday season that for years was often the time to introduce singing Christmas trees, talking fish and the like. Most of the products that made the 2012 IMS charts have been practical and meant to make consumers lives easier. ■


The Power of DRTV Knows No Age Boundaries

By Elizabeth A.K. O’Connell, IMS Contributing Editor

At some point in our lives, we have either heard or spoken the old adage, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Growing up in a DR industry family and after working for nearly a decade with my family monitoring and researching long- and short-form DRTV, there was one question I had that had never truly been answered — until this past summer.

My 1½-year-old son and my 2½-year-old daughter were quietly playing and enjoying the morning cartoons on Nick Jr. when the peace of our breakfast hour was ripped in two by a female voiceover energetically promoting Shimmer Body Art. The accompanying 800 number was glowing like a beacon of hope in the faces of my children. This was the morning I came face-to-face with my long-awaited answer — the magic of DRTV works from a consumer’s earliest memories.

I watched from a safe distance as my toddlers screamed with elation, ran towards the TV and tried to touch the shimmery tattoos being promoted. Their eyes were glued to the TV screen, and they both had a look of wonder gracing their faces. When the spot was over they turned, saw me, and I braced myself as they ran full force in my direction, all the while screaming, “Mommy!” and my eldest pleading, “That was so cool! Please Mommy! I want those tattoos!” as she handed me the phone.

The DR industry and its brilliant marketing tactics introduced my children to a number of products in the past few months. My daughter has been lured by the stenciled and bejeweled manicures one can procure in the comfort of their own home with Hollywood Nails by InvenTel. She and my son still have stars illuminated in their eyes by Ontel Products’ Dream Lites spot, and they have both decided that the only way to stylishly accessorize and warm their feet is with Stompeez.

This brings me to my next point — As Seen On TV shelves placed on the end-caps of aisles in major retailers are one of the most ingenious marketing tools used by DR products. A leisurely family trip to the local Target elicited high-pitched squeals, frantic gesturing and wild pleading in an alien language when my infomercial-enthusiastic children saw Stompeez on the As Seen On TV shelf. This ritual has now extended to Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS, Kohls, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, all of which wisely supply their As Seen On TV shelves with products directed at consumers of varying ages.

This year has seen a number of products directed at the 18 and under viewing audience. In the long-form category, two products that were detected by IMS would no doubt attract children and adults alike. Provocraft’s Cricut Mini is a great tool for people of all ages who share an affinity for arts and crafts. In late September, IMS also detected Catafulmo Global Dist. LLC’s WingFlyer, a user-propelled vehicle offered in three different models, each designed specifically for a certain age and weight bracket, with the beginner’s model suitable for children as young as eight.

In short-form, there is a significant list that can be generated for products marketed specifically for children, or in the very least, with the younger audience in mind. I suspect the short-form list may be longer due in part to the fact that younger consumers have a shorter attention span — one far more suitable for 30-second, 60-second and 120-second spots that also conveniently fit so nicely between their favorite cartoons and sitcoms.

The products pitched in short-form this year include everything from music and entertainment — including the Kidz Bop 21 CD from Razor and Tie Direct and Time-Life’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers DVD set — to products like My Lil Pie Maker and TELEBrands Cake Cone that encourage children to hone their skills in the kitchen. The Disney Vacation Club may be a vacation planning tool devised for parents and adults who want to plan the best Disney vacations possible, but children see the spot and know that any destination with the name Disney attached to it is a holiday on which they want to embark.

And it shouldn’t go unmentioned that Tristar’s Silly Slippeez, IdeaVillage’s Bright Light Pillow, Stuffies by martFIVE LLC and CuddleUppets from Jay at Pay Intl. have been detected and landing on the IMS spot report numerous times within the last year.

Part of growing up and maturing is learning invaluable lessons. I had to depart from the DR industry to embark on motherhood and to truly understand and be able to emphatically state that the art of media buying and product placement is never something to take lightly.

A great voiceover will capture the attention of anyone capable of hearing and detecting the perfectly timed inflections and enthusiasm that issues forth from their TVs, possessing their brains and wallet like a Jedi mind trick. There is a magic, a power and an influence in a call-to-action that is all its own and should never be scoffed at or dismissed. Finally, never under any circumstances underestimate the mental buying power of a young viewing audience. After all, it’s only a matter of time before they too become adult consumers.


About the Author: Elizabeth A. Kline


About the Author: Jennifer Muniz


About the Author: Mike Pewterbaugh


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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