Field Reports1 Dec, 2003 By: Thomas Haire Response
Concepts TV Celebrates 20 Years in DRTV Industry
Liantonio's company notches 3 ERA awards as part of the celebration.
By Thomas Haire ( mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
I've seen thousands of products, and I have a pretty good idea how to put a winner together," says Collette Liantonio, founder and president of Concepts TV Productions Inc. in Boonton, N.J. "When we do a half-hour, we should never get in the way of a demonstrator. Too often, people step on the demonstrator's toes with 'creative vision,' rather than allow the demonstraor to be the creative vision."
Concepts TV took home three ERA Awards in 2003. Celebrating at the ceremony are (l-r): Elizabeth Campbell, Jim Nolan, Denise Aponte, Erik Lindberg, Collette Liantonio, Kristy Pinand, Eve Fusco and Jon Calderaro.
It's no surprise to hear Liantonio, whose company is celebrating its 20th anniversary, speak so directly and with such conviction. For a woman who left college wanting to be a theater director before turning to teaching and then home life to raise three children, she's certainly made practice of reinventing herself successfully.
"After I won a poetry contest in a local paper, I was asked by a neighbor if I could also write a brochure," Liantonio says about her start in the marketing world. "I thought, 'Sure - poetry, brochures, whatever!'" After the brochure was a success in a mass mailing, she immediately got three more clients for her now budding freelance marketing writing career.
"Then, one of my clients bought the assets of a bankrupt DRTV company in 1979 and asked me to take a look at the business," she adds. "It was the most fascinating business, because you knew the next day if something sold."
The rest, as the man says, is history. After four successful years - and 30 successful short-form DR spots - Liantonio set out on her own to form Concepts. "Twenty years have gone by so fast," she says. "I've seen a lot of changes in the corporate culture, in the embracing of direct response. We used to be a poor stepchild. Now, especially in the 'do-not-call' environment and where other channels are becoming less desirable, people are looking for a new way to make sales. And this old way has become new to a lot of people."
Jim Nolan, Kristy Pinand and Collette Liantonio of Concepts TV Productions flank boxing champion and grill pitchman George Foreman at a recent shoot for his Lean Mean Grilling Machine.
The company celebrated those two decades in business recently by hosting 400 of its closest friends at a swanky party at Las Vegas' Venus Lounge at the Venetian Hotel. "The party was a way to say thank you to a lot of very loyal customers," Liantonio contends. "A lot of the guests were people we've worked with as long as we've been in business."
Part of the evening was a surprise to Liantonio, though, as her staff presented her with a "thank you" plaque to commemorate the anniversary. She says, wryly, "I felt like I was retiring. I got scared - I thought they were kicking me out!"
Still, no one who knows Liantonio could imagine her doing anything else, as witnessed by the three ERA awards collected by Concepts TV in 2003. And neither could she. "When you stop thinking you're a creative genius, and you remember that you're selling product, it doesn't really matter if its long or short form," she says. "There are formulas for both, and the point is selling - you're not creating a half-hour sitcom or a half-hour drama. It's a wonderful opportunity - thrilling - to sell in a half hour. I don't know why we've been successful at both, other than to remember what we're doing."
Hall Dickler Committee Discussed Merger Before Manatt Flight
NEW YORK - Nationally known law and consulting firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP announces a group of 10 attorneys, led by Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) past chair Linda A. Goldstein, has left Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP to join the firm's New York office as an advertising, marketing and media practice group. Former Hall Dickler executive committee member Jeffrey S. Edelstein joins Goldstein, a former name partner at Hall Dickler, in a leadership role for the new group.
The PromoXtra online newsletter reports that a committee of attorneys from Hall Dickler approached Manatt about a merger before the announcement). The Nov. 11 report says merger talks failed after Manatt expressed interest only in Hall Dickler's advertising division.
"Manatt presents a terrific opportunity and national platform to expand the capabilities and resources we provide our clients," Goldstein says. "Beyond our industry-leading legal and strategic capabilities in advertising, marketing, media and promotion, we are now in a position to offer our clients a powerful national litigation presence, sophisticated transactional abilities, enhanced government access and a range of specialized resources in other areas that will help us maximize our client relationships."
Goldstein and Edelstein are joined at Manatt by former Hall Dickler partners Michael Barkow, William Heberer, Charulata Pagar and Felix Kent, as well as associate attorneys Jennifer Deitch, Jennifer Koester, Julia Reytblat and Lindsay Schoen.
The 10 attorneys have brought much Hall Dickler's advertising clientele to Manatt as part of the deal.