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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports April 2011

1 Apr, 2011 By: Thomas Haire, Jackie Jones Response

DRTV Industry News and Information

DRMA Marketer of the Year Spotlight

Green Bullion Keeps Thinking Outside the Box

By Thomas Haire (

In its 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. In the November 2010 issue, we began spotlighting the other seven top nominees in a monthly section. This month, we caught up with Jeff Aronson, CEO of Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Green Bullion Financial Services LLC.

In 2010, the company credited its aggressiveness and outside-the-box thinking for reaching 1 million customers for Cash4Gold, the leading mail-in gold buying business in the world. The company also started a new consumer products division, DevTel Products, and expanded its reach internationally into the U.K. and other nations.

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: We are always honored to be recognized by Response Magazine and the DRMA. When we established Cash4Gold, the idea of selling gold by mail was a revolutionary concept that lots of people had trouble getting their heads around. The power of DR is what enabled us to introduce the business model and acquire nearly a million customers from all across the country.

Q: What was the most significant accomplishment in the past year for your company?

A: Expanding our gold-buying concept and adapting the model to reach new markets. We grew internationally and really saw that as a way of pioneering the mail-in gold buying industry worldwide. We are currently running tests with some of the most well-known big-box retailers, which is also very exciting.

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: The approach taken by Green Bullion Financial Services, the parent company of Cash4Gold, has always been critical to our success. We look to be aggressive, we recognize and adapt to market trends, and we always think outside the box.

Q: Why do you think your business responded well during the recent economic downturn?

A: Our mail-in gold buying service provides an easy, safe, insured, satisfaction-guaranteed way for people everywhere to collect dollars for unwanted items that would otherwise just collect dust.

Q: What is your outlook for the next 12 months? What are the top items in your pipeline?

A: We are excited about the outlook for the coming year. We are looking very closely at the tests currently underway with major retailers since those would provide a natural way to expand our reach and provide our unique service to customers all across the U.S.

Q: What vertical markets do you believe are best equipped to survive current economic issues — and even thrive — in 2011? Why?

A: Based on the economic outlook, the financial services sector is continuing to thrive in 2011, so we are preparing to be quite busy.

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: Customers respond to all kinds of DRTV depending upon the product being sold, the target demographic and a whole host of other factors. For us, we have stuck with short-form TV marketing as the principal driver of traffic. Probably the best explanation for that would be the age-old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We are constantly exploring and experimenting with a variety of marketing channels, but short-form DRTV is and will likely continue to be our anchor.

REVShare, Karlin+Pimsler Team up for Credit Education Campaign

By Thomas Haire (

NEW YORK and TEMECULA, Calif. — The Joint Council for Credit Education, a consortium of 11 nonprofit credit counseling agencies, has enlisted DR industry stalwarts REVShare and Karlin+Pimsler to create a DRTV campaign designed to reach out to consumers struggling with their finances and creditors. “Since the Joint Council for Credit Education is a consortium of clients in different markets, we needed a spot that would speak to people around the country and a media solution that would reach them effectively,” says Christopher Viale, president of Cambridge Credit Counseling. “The REVShare network provided the depth and breadth of dayparts and DMAs that we needed for this campaign, and Karlin+Pimsler certainly came through on the creative.”

Brendan Condon, CEO of REVShare, says, “When the Joint Council for Credit Education came to us to advertise on our CPA (cost-per-acquisition) network, we immediately knew that Karlin+Pimsler could provide a marketing solution and smart creative.”

The campaign created by Karlin+Pimsler features 30- and 60-second spots entitled “Credit Tamer.” In the spots, the consumer is portrayed as a lion tamer who is able to overcome the creditors, which seem like big cats such as tigers, leopards, jaguars and lions.

“We were looking for a concept that could easily resonate, and it came to us that ‘toying’ with creditors is as dangerous as ‘toying’ with carnivores,” says Mal Karlin, president and executive creative director of Karlin+Pimsler. “The challenge in this campaign is that, during the past few years, the debt settlement category has flooded the airwaves with false claims. We needed to set ourselves apart to gain consumer trust through the creative execution. The messaging, with the ‘lion tamer’ metaphor is quite compelling and very clear.”

Currently, Condon says that the 30-second creative has been the most effective. “We believe this is a result of the great creative in the ‘Credit Tamer’ campaign — it’s really easy to get the message of taming your credit,” he says.

DR Industry Responds to Catastrophe in Japan

By Jackie Jones (

The magnitude 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that is believed to have left more than 10,000 dead and millions stranded in Japan has far-reaching global consequences on both a humanitarian and economic scale.

As rescue efforts began amid risks of nuclear meltdowns, continued floods and aftershocks as large as magnitude 6.0, those in the direct response industry with ties to Japan and the Asia Pacific region have been quick to express their condolences and concerns.

“Japan is a market that so many suppliers in our industry have traveled to and forged partnerships in, and has sustained our international business outside North America for almost two decades,” said Nicole Ali, vice president of international at Northern Response Intl. Ltd. in Toronto. “Our industry is indebted to them as a nation as they have kept us afloat during fluctuations in buying power of other countries internationally within our DRTV world.”

One DR company in the heart of it all is Oak Lawn Marketing (OLM), an infomercial company headquartered in the city of Nagoya. The company has been able to confirm the safety of its immediate employees, says Tatsuya Niioka, director OLM’s of management planning divison.

“Though none of our employees (suffered) serious injury, some of our employees’ relatives in the disaster-stricken areas are still out of contact,” Niioka says.

The company’s logistics center was damaged by the disaster, and OLM has stopped airing infomericals for now.

“Oak Lawn Marketing Inc. and all its employees would like to extend our deepest sympathies to all those people affected by the recent Tohoku area earthquake,” said Harry Hill, OLM president and CEO, in a statement on the company’s Japanese website. “Due to difficulties being encountered from the earthquake, the shipment of some products may be delayed. Your understanding is most appreciated while we do our best to get your purchases to you. Additionally, due to telecommunications difficulties, lines to our call centers may be congested; again we respectfully request your patience during these difficulties.”

Japan’s disaster will have a ripple effect across Asia, Ali said. “Hopefully the rebuilding efforts will be a catalyst to jumpstart the economy as heavy spending on reconstruction will eventually restore Japan’s economy and employment rates,” she said. “But it will definitely take time. How much and when depends on the strength of the yen. The support is coming from all angles … and sadly we must all sit anxiously by and watch as things play out and how it ultimately impacts us all.”

Immersion Active’s president David Weigelt recently posted an entry on the interactive agency’s blog detailing his worry for those abroad.

“It’s 2 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I’m up because my phone has been vibrating throughout the night with updates and information from various colleagues from around the globe,” he wrote. “Each time, I’m hopeful that I’ll see an update from Immersion Active’s friends ... in Japan, but as of this posting, nothing yet.”

“For better and worse, the change that is before us is an opportunity the likes of which we have never known,” he continued. “And the opportunity before us — one that gives Immersion Active a great sense of purpose — has less to do with dollars and cents and everything to do with who we are as humans.”

Deal-A-Day Sites’ Revenue Likely to Hit $4 Billion by 2015

By Jackie Jones (


CHANTILLY, Va. — U.S. consumer spending on deal-a-day websites could grow from $873 million in 2010 to $3.9 billion in 2015, representing a 35.1-percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to a new forecast by media industry advisor BIA/Kelsey.

Though $4 billion is the most likely outlook, deal-a-day could grow to as much as $6.1 billion by 2015 (47.4 percent CAGR), based on variables including the number of cities/sites, registered users, transactions per year for the average user and the average price per transaction, according to the report.

“Deal-a-day has experienced incredible growth during its three-year incubation period beginning in 2008,” said Mark Fratrik, vice president of BIA/Kelsey. “We expect this to continue as companies in the space are rapidly adding markets and increasing total user count. They are also subdividing existing metros to provide deals closer to where users live, which we believe will help offset any drop-off that may occur due to consumer fatigue as the novelty of the form fades.”

Groupon and LivingSocial lead the marketplace of 200-plus players, which also includes destination sites and white-label providers working with directory companies, newspapers, and radio and television operators. AT&T is the latest brand to jump aboard the deal-a-day bandwagon with its YP app for Android devices, a free mobile application that provides nearby deals, personalization and sharing features for users.

As of March 1, BIA/Kelsey estimates there are 178 cities with deal-a-day sites reaching 102 million people in the U.S.

“The combination of fun offers and convenience makes deal-a-day a very attractive way to reach local users, and for publishers to work with small businesses,” said Peter Krailovsky, vice president and program director of marketplaces for BIA/Kelsey. “We expect to see some shift in local media spending resulting from the adoption of deal-a-day by local advertisers.”

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