DRMA Marketer of the Year Spotlight: Tristar Turns to ‘Talkmercials,’ Supports Ovarian Cancer Research2 Feb, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response
In its October 2009 issue, Response announced and spotlighted the three finalists and winner of the inaugural Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award. In the November 2009 issue, we began spotlighting the other seven top nominees in a monthly section. This month, we caught up with Keith Mirchandani, president and CEO of Fairfield, N.J.-based Tristar Products Inc.
For 17 years, Tristar has been a leading DR product marketer. Under Mirchandani’s direction, perhaps its biggest product has been the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, which debuted in 2001. With more than 5 million units sold, the Juicer is one of the industry’s legendary winners, and was part of the company’s push to support awareness of Ovarian Cancer in 2009. At the same time, the company began using a “talkmercial” format for its long-form shows, featuring Emmy winner Montel Williams.
Q: What does it mean to you and your company to be one of the top 10 nominees for the DRMA Marketer of the Year Award?
A: I felt very honored to be nominated by my peers in the industry and that Tristar has been able to come up with such great products and be successful with them. I get motivated by watching my peers do well! I do hope to win next time.
Q: What was the most significant accomplishment in the past year for your company?
A: As some people may know, my mother passed from ovarian cancer. I learned about the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) and was fortunate to get a position on its board. In October, Tristar launched the Jack LaLanne Teal Juicer at Jack’s 95th birthday party in support of ovarian cancer. As part of the function in October, we also were able to raise more than $250,000 for the OCNA. I was very proud of this accomplishment.
Q: How did the successful products you had over the past year fit within the overall concept behind your company? Were any of those products so successful that they changed the way you do business? If so, how?
A: Our Montel Williams’ Living Well HealthMaster has been very successful! We launched the HealthMaster under a new format called the “talkmercial,” and we look forward to building new brands under this new and exciting format.
Q: Why do you think your business responded well during the recent economic downturn?
A: Our business has responded well because media rates have been much lower. More people are watching TV, and national advertisers have cut their budgets, so there has been a great deal of opportunity. And with more media comes more exposure and great retail sales as well.
Q: What is your outlook for the next 12 months? What are the top items in your pipeline?
A: Our plan for this year is to continue to create more talkmercial shows with Montel Williams. As for our top items, we are fortunate to have many great programs doing well: HealthMaster, the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, the Ab Coaster, the Banjo Minnow Fishing System, and many more.
Q: What vertical markets do you believe are best equipped to survive current economic issues — and even thrive — in 2010? Why?
A: Retail is a big part of our business. While taking advantage of reduced media rates, our retail sales have increased due to the growth and exposure of a product. We have a lot of No. 1 products in various categories out there. We also continue to see excellent growth in our international business.
Q: Does today’s consumer respond better to short-form or long-form DRTV? Which of these two formats are best supported by other media, including online, mobile, print and radio?
A: If you have a great product, that is what people are going to respond to. We are very focused on brands, and with that, long-form is a better fit. However, we have actually created a new category in direct response with our one-hour formats. We are also getting much more active in social media with plans to continue to use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others to create more awareness of our brands.