From childhood, I’ve just had a true love of animals and an intense dislike of cruelty,” says Wayne Pacelle, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “All of our encyclopedias were dog-eared to pages with animal entries. I read National Geographic with fascination about them. I understood they were different from us but in good ways. They’re fast, beautiful, athletic, vulnerable — and needed humans to be good to them.”
So began a life’s work for the now-45-year-old Yale graduate who has headed the HSUS since 2004, but spent the first 17 years of his career waist-deep in the animal care and rights business, first with The Fund for Animals and then the HSUS. According to the Los Angeles Times in 2008, “Pacelle has retooled a venerable organization seen as a mild-mannered protector of dogs and cats into an aggressive interest group flexing muscle in state legislatures and courtrooms.”
Pacelle has played a central role in more than two dozen successful statewide ballot measure campaigns protecting animals since 1990, as well as the passage of hundreds of state and federal laws — 500 in the past decade alone — and direct response marketing has played a major role in that success. “Direct response is a double bottom-line investment,” Pacelle says. “We put money into DR marketing, and we get new members and funds to conduct operations. We strengthen our brand, which is critical in a competitive environment, not only within our sector but also with political adversaries trying to weaken our brand. Fortifying our brand and our coffers with DR is critical for us, and DR helps our brand stand out in the cluttered Information Age.”
Pacelle says the organization utilizes DRTV, the Web, E-mail, direct mail and social media in an ever-evolving mix to not only drive memberships and donations but also to fight the good fight on ballot measures, in statehouses and across various federal agencies. In that realm, Pacelle speaks fondly of a Missouri ballot measure cracking down on puppy mills that passed just a month ago, as well as the 2008 passage of California Prop. 2, halting the intensive confinement of 20 million farm animals.
Throughout a phone conversation with Pacelle from his Washington, D.C., office about the HSUS’ marketing methods, his passion for animals and for fighting for their protection and betterment of their circumstances shines through time and again. Next April 12, Pacelle will share that passion in a new book, published by Harper Collins, “The Bond: Our Kinship With Animals and Our Call to Defend Them.”
A Life Devoted
The HSUS has worked since its founding in 1954 to create a world in which “people satisfy the physical and emotional needs of domestic animals; protect wild animals and their environments; and change their relationships with all animals, evolving from exploitation and harm to respect and compassion.”
That mission appealed immediately to a young Pacelle, who grew up in New Haven, Conn., the son of a father who was a teacher and football coach and a mother who was a secretary. “We weren’t wealthy by any means, but it was a loving family and a great upbringing,” Pacelle says of his parents, brother and two sisters. He attended local public schools until entering an all-boys parochial high school.
“I played tennis there and at Yale,” Pacelle says. “But it’s also where I dove headfirst into the animal movement by starting an animal protection group.”
Following that experience, Pacelle took a college internship with an animal welfare group that really set him on his career path. “I was planning on going to law school, but the internship eventually led to a position as an associate editor for Animals’ Agenda magazine when I graduated. Apparently, though, I still like lawyers — as we have about 50 of them on staff at HSUS,” he says with a chuckle.
Second-quarter 2010 DR radio media billings, provided by Kantar Media, show a 10.9-percent increase of about $1.2 million. This is the first time in the past four years that second-quarter numbers have seen an increase, and total quarterly spending has returned to above $10 million after last year’s low of $9,879,200.
Despite a slight decrease in the average money spent on a campaign, spending in the top 10 increased and the total number of unique individual campaigns increased by 8, an 11.4-percent jump.
An impressive 10 of 17 categories reported advances in the second quarter, double the number from 2Q 2009. “Collectibles and Art” and “Correspondence Schools” bounced back from last year’s zero totals, at $21,900 and $305,700, respectively. “Home and Building” had the highest dollar gain with a $2,450,500 increase, a 97-percent jump. Not taking into account the 100-percent gains of “Correspondence Schools” and “Collectibles and Art,” “Food and Beverage” took home top-percentage gainer honors with a 99.8-percent rise of $1,711,900.
The “Household, Furniture and Appliances” category was the loss leader in both dollar and percentage amounts, suffering a $3,435,600 decrease in spending, reflecting a 99.8-percent demise. A majority of categories reflected extreme percentage changes — both in increases and decreases — with nine categories seeing percentage changes of 90 percent or higher.
“Automotive and Travel” reported a zero for the third-consecutive second-quarter.
Network Radio Gains Majority Market Share
Only one of the three DR radio media outlets reported a gain in the second quarter, as network radio saw a 39.6-percent increase of $2,484,600, pushing its overall share of the total market to 56.6 percent — a reversal of last year’s declining trend. National spot radio suffered a significant percentage loss of 91.3 percent, dropping its total share of the market to only 0.15 percent, down from last year’s 1.9 percent.
The average money spent on a campaign took a slight dip of 0.6 percent, though the average money spent on a campaign outside of the top 10 increased by $4,077 (8.8 percent). Spending in the top 10 increased $629,900, a 7.6-percent jump, and eight of the campaigns from the previous top-10 list made this quarter’s list. Select Comfort Direct Corp. retained the No. 1 spot, P90X debuted at No. 5 and Bose Wave jumped in at No. 10.
By Thomas Haire (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Inits October 2010 issue, Response announced and spotlighted the three finalists and winner of the Second Annual Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award. Beginning with the November issue, we are spotlighting the other seven top nominees in a monthly section. This month, we caught up with Doug Fowkes, CEO of Provo, Utah-based Infomercials Inc.
Since its debut in late 2009, Infomercial Inc.’s Pillow Pets line has sold more than 2 million units, with retail orders nearing 8 million for the holiday shopping season. The company also had a hugely successful retail test earlier this year with Toys ‘R’ Us. Other successful products from Infomercials Inc. include Work GT, Fein MultiMaster, Cricut Expression and the Miche Bag.
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: It truly is a great honor to be nominated for Marketer of the Year. We have a great team of individuals who have worked very hard to make our campaigns successful this past year, and it feels good to be recognized for our efforts. This is an industry full of surprises and drama. Every day is a new experience. We love it, we have a passion for it, and I believe that passion shows in our campaigns.
Q: What was the most significant accomplishment in the past year for your company?
A: We are most proud of our newest home run infomercial, Pillow Pets. Pillow Pets is cute, charming and full of magic. Creating that magic is always the most difficult task we face in creating any of our shows, but I’m proud of Pillow Pets for a different reason. In the past, we’ve had huge successes in the “tough tool” category with infomercials like Little Giant Ladder, Worx GT and the Fein MultiMaster. As a result, people were beginning to say, “Infomercials Inc.? Those are the guys that do those really good tool videos!” We were becoming known only for our tool shows. That all changed with the success of Pillow Pets.
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: Well, our concept has traditionally been to focus on making incredible shows, and everything else will fall into place. Production has been our main focus. Profit and growth have been the natural result. However, from our most recent successes, including Pillow Pets, we’ve discovered that there are many other avenues of revenue that can be realized through a well-run marketing campaign. We have been redirecting efforts to explore these avenues, which include alternate forms of mass media, the use of PR firms, emerging international markets, strategic partners and the ever-increasing possibilities of Internet commerce.
Q: Why do you think your business responded well during the recent economic downturn?
A: We’ve had 300-percent growth during the economic downturn. What economic downturn? Seriously, people have and will always buy principally through emotion. Strong emotions overshadow the current economic conditions.
Q: What is your outlook for the next 12 months? What are the top items in your pipeline?
A: No sleep, no vacation time and especially no sick days. We have a very aggressive schedule. We can’t tell you what our next 10 products will be or we’ll be knocked off before this article is even published. But I can tell you that at least three of our products should be major home runs. In fact, we are experimenting with a new kind of offer where we give a $200 dollar product away for free — and no, we don’t try to make up the difference with inflated shipping costs. Another potential home run product is a new product that has never been introduced before by anyone. Look for it in September 2011.
Q: What vertical markets do you believe are best equipped to survive current economic issues — and even thrive — in 2011? Why?
A: Any product that solves problems, fills needs, has some wow factor, and has the right cost-of-goods-to-price-point ratio has the potential to do well regardless of the market. Consumers consume even in down markets — they’re just more selective.
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: That question depends on how good of a salesman you are. I’m of the firm belief that you can sell anybody almost anything in a half hour with the right product and a brilliant sales presentation. In 28.5 minutes you can convince people of a lot. In two minutes, you don’t have that luxury. Long-form depends more on the sales presentation itself. Short-form depends more on the product. Naturally, print ads, banners, E-mail blasts and mobile media all work better, right out of the gate, with short-form products that don’t require the big half hour sales pitch. However, if a long-form show achieves household recognition status, then based on that recognition, it too can do well in those other media formats.
By Jackie Jones (email@example.com)
London — Sales from mobile advertising could rise tenfold to hit $24.1 billion by 2015, according to a report by Informa Telecoms & Media.
“The launch of Apple’s iAd advertising platform is forcing rivals to speed up their own mobile advertising strategies,” Shailendra Pandey, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media and author of the recent research, said in a press release. “Google has responded by acquiring AdMob and has announced it is on track to generate $1 billion in (U.S.) revenues from mobile in 2010, a significant portion of which will be mobile advertising revenues. Google has also reported a 500-percent growth in mobile search queries between 2008 and 2010.”
Much of the industry’s growth will be coming from China and India, with the Asia Pacific developing region accounting for the largest share by 2015 at 30.9 percent, Informa said. North America will account for 18 percent of the market in 2015, Latin America will claim 6.4 percent and Western Europe will account for 8.6 percent, according to the report.
“The mobile advertising industry has now moved beyond the trial and experimental phase and many advertisers and brands are now spending significant sums on running mobile campaigns each month,” Pandey said.
By Jackie Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HAWTHORNE, N.Y. — Allstar Products Group, winner of the 2009 Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award, has debuted its latest holiday-themed television spots for the Snuggie brand.
The commercials feature different spins on holiday classics such as “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Jingle Bells,” and are airing during a six-week period across cable and syndicated programming, as well as on www.snuggiefanclub.com and on the official Snuggie YouTube channel, according to Anne Flynn, vice president of marketing at Allstar.
“In addition to warmth and comfort, our fans look to Snuggie for fun and entertainment, and that’s what this new product line provides and ad campaign communicates,” Flynn tells Response. “We’ve also introduced more than 10 new styles such as Monkey Fun, Peace & Love, Skull & Crossbones and even licensed ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ and ‘Dora the Explorer’ blankets for kids. There is truly a Snuggie for anyone on your holiday list.”
The television campaign consists of 30-, 15- and 10-second spots running on television, Web sites and social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Thousands online have parodied Snuggie ads in the past, and Allstar expects similar success this holiday season.
“We expect the ads to get significant attention online based on what we’ve seen in the past — Snuggie ads are extremely viral,” Flynn said. “The additional component of online/viral was integral to the success of the campaign last year. We still receive millions of impressions online and this is in addition to a multimillion dollar retail ad support campaign.”
Allstar is also utilizing social media platforms to encourage fans to come up with their own favorite holiday-inspired videos, and says consumers can expect more fashion, innovation and expansion within the Snuggie brand in the future.
By Jackie Jones (email@example.com)
NEW YORK — AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless have joined forces to create Isis, a national mobile commerce network that aims to help customers more easily pay for consumable goods with their cellular phones.
The initial focus of Isis is to build a mobile payment network that enables mobile devices to make point-of-sale purchases, according to a press release.
“Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers,” said Michael Abbott, chief executive officer of Isis.
Isis is working with Discover Financial Services’ payment network to develop the mobile payment infrastructure for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon’s joint venture. Barclaycard US could be the first issuer on the network, according to sources.
“We believe the venture will have the scope and scale necessary to introduce mobile commerce on a broad basis. In the beginning, we intend to fully utilize Discover’s national payments,” Abbott said. “Moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers.”
According to Isis, the new service will use near-field communication (NFC), which “uses short-range, high frequency wireless technology to enable the encrypted exchange of information between devices at a short distance.” Consumers would need to upgrade their phone to one that is embedded with an NFC chip before using Isis, according to Reuters. Isis expects to introduce its service to key geographic markets within the next 18 months.
“While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start,” Abbott said. “We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes.”