As Seen on TV ... And Every Other Screen You Own17 Sep, 2010 By: Nicole Urso Response
How these DR marketers used multiple advertising channels to turn their products into household brands.
The Snuggie is one of those smash-hit direct response products that begs the question, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Much like the Topsy Turvy, the popular upside-down tomato planter, or the now-famous Bumpit hair accessory, the Snuggie is brilliantly simple — a cozy fleece blanket made with armholes.
All of these products are now household names with a strong retail presence, but what some people may not know is that they are all marketed by the same company. Hawthorne, N.Y.-based Allstar Products Group cranks out hit after hit, but its direct response marketing strategies are anything but simplistic. President Scott Boilen says that the success and continued growth of the Snuggie as well as the rest of the company’s product line could not be achieved without leveraging a variety of marketing channels tailored to the goals of each brand.
Creating a Viral Campaign
The Snuggie was initially marketed in 2008 through DRTV commercials and online advertising. The product left a lasting impression; the infomercials were made into primetime parodies and user-generated YouTube skits. Famous comedians including Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres referenced the Snuggie in monologues. The product quickly developed a brand following, and Boilen closely monitored the buzz. Once there was initial success, he incorporated social media marketing efforts and hosted special events to continue building brand awareness.
“Public relations and social media campaigns were critical to making Snuggie the brand it is today,” Boilen says. “These tactics helped the brand to benefit from strong word of mouth, creating an immense fan following. For example, we held a Snuggie Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week last year that created a lot of buzz. This year we just launched the Snuggie Choice Film Awards, a contest to celebrate the fans and their creativity when it comes to the brand.”
Fans are invited to submit their best three-minute video homage for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize and a trip to New York in October, where the first Snuggie Choice Film Awards will be hosted. This contest was launched simultaneously with a sneak preview of the new fall 2010 Snuggie campaign featuring groups of Snuggie-clad dancers doing the “Macarena” song. Also, coming in September, a book called “The Snuggie Sutra” which promises more than 100 Snuggie-wearing bedtime positions along with the disclaimer, “Not affiliated with the Snuggie corporation, but highly aroused by it” will be available at the local Barnes & Noble.
“Our brands are very active on social media channels,” says Boilen. “We use our brand presence on these forums to monitor the conversation to see what our fans are saying; likes, dislikes, etc. Forums such as Facebook and Twitter are such a great way for us to communicate with our fans on a daily basis in order to best understand their wants and needs.”
Harnessing Third-Party Power
Viral-geared sites like YouTube can be among the most powerful resources for DR marketers to build up consumer engagement and practical knowledge about how to use and why to buy a product.
Savvy marketers will often publish their television spots, or portions of them, on YouTube so that users can easily find video demonstrations and purchasing information, such as an official Web site, when they search for a product online. (Response hosts AsSeenonResponseTV.com, which is connected directly to YouTubeDirect.com, the only DRTV branded YouTube channel). In order to create awareness around a marketing campaign, however, the goal of posting content on a video-sharing site is to entice people to have fun with it and ultimately share it.
The FlavorWave Turbo Oven, for example, has a strong presence on YouTube. The infomercial features pop culture icon Mr. T scoffing at the assertion that his frozen beef cutlets could be de-thawed and cooked in minutes.
“We’ve found that a lot of viral videos of our FlavorWave Turbo commercial have been mixed and re-cut by third parties and edited to music then placed on YouTube,” says Paul Greenberg, Santa Monica, Calif.-based chief creative officer at Thane Direct.
A YouTube search for “FlavorWave” returns more than 200 videos, many of which feature Mr. T. A YouTube search for Mr. T returns millions of results, and fortunately for the FlavorWave brand, the first page returns a video of Mr. T in that infomercial.