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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Jan, 2004 By: Thomas Haire Response


Muris' Weight-Loss Announcement Props ERA Self-Regulation Efforts, but Dumps on DRTV Image

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a press conference Dec. 9, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Timothy Muris announced a long-awaited set of voluntary weight-loss advertising guidelines for media companies, entitled "Red Flag: Bogus Weight-Loss Claims." During the conference regarding the 74-page report, Muris saluted the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) for the work of its self-regulation program, but also took a hard shot at DRTV, singling out the industry as the worst offender in making false claims.


In response, ERA president Barbara Tulipane appeared on various cable news outlets to promote the association's work in self-regulation. During the interviews, Tulipane consistently rejected Muris' depiction of the DRTV industry, while contending that Muris had hurt the self-regulation efforts of ERA and other industry associations by making such an assertion.

Jack Chiasson brings expertise in membership recruitment and leadership programs to ERA.
Jack Chiasson brings expertise in membership recruitment and leadership programs to ERA.

Tulipane and the ERA continue to seek a strong working relationship with the FTC. In a letter to Muris, Tulipane states, "The leadership of ERA is driving the self-regulation process, and member companies are stepping up to the challenge. It would help the process greatly to enjoy the ongoing support of both you and FTC staff in this process."

The FTC's new guidelines are designed to alert media about what it says are seven red flags in possibly false weight-loss advertising. The commission wants media outlets to better vet ads that may run on their airwaves or in their pages.

In other ERA news, as part of a push to increase membership among traditional advertisers and retailers, as well as Internet retailers, the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) names Jack Chiasson vice president of membership. Chiasson brings 16 years of association management experience to the trade group.

Chiasson's expertise in developing leadership programs and membership recruitment techniques is a major boost to the ERA's efforts. He has held management positions with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), United Way of America and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, among others.

The ERA includes 386 member companies, boasting 15-percent growth and 85-percent retention during the past year. And, with companies like America Online, Best Buy, Google, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Radio Shack, Time-Warner and Yahoo! attending its 2003 annual conference this past September, it's clear the group is gaining appeal among the Fortune 1000 and online marketing communities. Chiasson is tasked with targeting and educating these companies and their peers to further diversify ERA's growing membership.


DMA President and CEO Wientzen to Retire on July 1

NEW YORK - The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) announces that H. Robert Wientzen, its president and CEO since 1996, plans to retire July 1. An executive search committee composed of current and former DMA board members has been formed to identify a successor.


Wientzen, who turns 65 in August, has been asked to serve the DMA through the end of 2004 to ensure an orderly and efficient transition once a successor is named. The DMA's membership has grown nearly 50 percent since Wientzen's ascension to his role in September 1996.

The DMA's membership has grown nearly 50 percent during H. Robert Wientzen's tenure.
The DMA's membership has grown nearly 50 percent during H. Robert Wientzen's tenure.

In 1997, DMA founded its first chapter - today there are seven different chapters around the nation. Wientzen also oversaw the 1998 acquisition of the Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM). In 1999, the DMA acquired the Internet Alliance, making Wientzen's organization the largest committed to the development and growth of Internet marketing and electronic commerce.

"Anyone who knows me will know that retiring was not an easy decision for me to make," Wientzen says. "While our industry and the DMA have faced many challenges since I came onboard in 1996, it's also been a period of unprecedented growth, international expansion and technological advancement - most profoundly the emergence of the Internet as a marketing channel for our members, large and small, for-profit and non-profit, here and around the globe."


Industry Execs Form Andrews Marketing Partners

SALT LAKE CITY- Managing Partners Andy Naud and Andrew Rappl, formerly members of the Stilson & Stilson management team, have opened up a new DRTV shop called Andrews Marketing Partners LLC (AMP). The new firm offers production, consulting and product distribution services.


Naud and Rappl bring more than 20 years experience in the DRTV business and offer clients access to valuable industry contacts, as well as hands-on involvement in DR projects. "AMP was created to allow companies to jump-start their DR programs without having to create large-overhead, capital-hungry monsters," says Rappl.

Naud adds, "The truth is, most infomercials fail and should never have been made. Our previous experience led to tremendously high success rates because we didn't take projects we thought would fail just to have the production income. It sounds simple, but we evaluate products on their chance for success, as a priority, above the production income they generate."

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