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10 Jun, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response

Response Expo 2010 Recap

Geldof, Marketing Leaders Provide Inspiration and Education

By Thomas Haire (

Sir Bob GeldofSAN DIEGO — Sir Bob Geldof — founder of the Band Aid Trust, organizer of the renowned 1985 LiveAid and 2005 Live8 concerts and a nearly annual nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize — kicked off Response Expo 2010 with an inspirational, irreverent and industry-directed keynote address on the evening of May 11 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

Geldof’s presentation — in which he challenged the standing-room only crowd of more than 600 to not only come up with the best way to market his album of new music due in September, but also to grasp the weight of using DR marketing to “raise $25 billion for Africa every year” — set the tone for the entire three-day event.

“Response Expo was easily the best electronic retailing/direct response trade show our industry has ever had” says Greg Sarnow, founder of the Direct Response Academy in Austin, Texas. “Sir Bob Geldof was beyond incredible. His message was inspiring and seeing how modest his past had been was a real reminder that every one of us can make a difference.”

As Response Expo blogger Pat Cauley wrote the night of the event, “Always engaging and usually amusing, [Geldof] spoke of his Irish childhood in which his father sold towels to people in the Irish countryside. ‘You guys have changed the perception of the towel so that it’s wildly new,’ he said, alluding to the success of the ShamWow. But changing perceptions is exactly what Geldof has always been about, especially the perception of poverty in Africa for which he launched multiple charity concerts to combat.”

Geldof also discussed how developing a brand for a band, from its name to song titles, is similar to a branded DR model and described how rock music has always sought to make cash from chaos. However, he said wryly, “The revolution always ends up in Macy’s front window.”

Geldof’s thoughts were clearly apparent among the 3,000 attendees at the Expo during the educational seminar sessions that took place on May 12-13. The 11 educational sessions drew more than 800 total attendees, with full houses of more than 110 for three of the Wednesday panel discussions, while Lockard & Wechsler’s sponsored pre-show intensive on the afternoon of May 11 drew a standing-room only crowd of 125.

“There are educational opportunities everywhere at Response Expo, with a strong focus on providing a measurable ROI,” says Andy Arvidson, owner of Torrance, Calif.-based Imagine Fulfillment Services (IFS).

Panel discussions on Wednesday included speakers from such leading marketers as Anna’s Linens, Allstar Marketing, TELEBrands, Razor & Tie Entertainment, Product Partners and HAAN USA. With topics ranging from getting the best retail space for your DRTV product to a discussion on the Federal Trade Commission’s recent changes to its Endorsement and Testimonial Guides, attendees and speakers fed off one another to create energetic sessions.

The next day’s case study sessions — featuring financial services leaders Barclaycard US and J.G. Wentworth, real estate giant Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and retail outlet DirectBuy — also gave attendees solid insight on what made recent campaigns so successful. Another special session, moderated by Linda Goldstein, partner at Manatt Phelps & Phillips, took a look at the recent crackdown by credit card giants MasterCard and Visa on negative option marketers.

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