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Direct Response Marketing

Michael Ackerman, a Founding Father of DRTV, Dead at 66

22 Jan, 2014 By: Thomas Haire

NEW YORK – Michael Ackerman, long associated with Emson Inc., and one of the leading product marketers in the As Seen on TV world, passed away on Jan. 11. Funeral services were held on Jan. 13.

Ackerman, one of the leading experts in product and merchandising in the DR space, played a key role in the success of an extremely long list of products, including the InStyler, X-Hose, the Magic Bullet, the Bacon Wave, the Turbo Steamer – and the list goes on.

Ackerman also was a key player in the creation and early successes of the National Infomercial Marketing Association (NIMA), which went on to become the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA). Friends say that Ackerman loved closing a huge deal as much as he did golfing with his friends.

“Mike was one of the first people I met when I started in this industry 25 years ago,” says Arline Kramer, leader of Remarkable Products Intl. “I used to say I wanted to be as successful as he was when I grow up! A friend of mine related him to a cactus – under the thorns and hard shell, he was soft and extremely generous. He will be missed.”

Rick Kelly, vice president of National Express Inc., says, “Mike was a dear friend and one of the best merchandisers and dealmakers I’ve known in my 32 years in the DR business.”

Both Seymour Shapiro and Bob Perlman of Best Buys Direct have positive memories of Ackerman as well. “His heart was as big as his bluster,” Perlman says.

Shapiro adds, “There can never be another Mike. He was one of a kind – the Don Rickles of DRTV.”

Mark Levine and Dave Richmond of Modern Media shared a statement that reads, “Mike was many things to so many people in this industry – to some a mentor and to some a feared competitor. But to all he was a guy with a huge heart, a contagious thirst for life, and an electrifying, funny, commanding presence that never failed to own any room he was in. There's no replacing Mike.”

Ackerman is survived by his wife, two sons and two granddaughters. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Ackerman’s memory be sent to: Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy of Springfield, Attn: Rabbi Kosofsky, 1148 Converse St., Longmeadow, MA 01106. The academy can also be reached at (413) 567-8665 or online at

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