Field Reports1 Sep, 2005 By: Thomas Haire, Nicole Urso Reed, Doug Garnett Response
Garnett is president and executive producer at thePortland, Ore.-based DRTV agency. Potter is a former agency owner and president who is now consulting and also is working on a follow-up to his successful book, "The 50+ Boomer: Your Key to 76 Million Consumers."
The duo joins 13 other direct response industry leaders who make up the board.
Frank Cannella, Cannella Response Television Inc.
By Thomas Haire
Frank Cannella is CEO and founder of Burlington, Wis.-based Cannella Response Television Inc., which is celebrating its 20th year as a leader in the DRTV world. Cannella's client roster over the years has been a virtual who's-who of DR successes. Upon the occasion of the company's 20th anniversary celebration, Response recently caught up with Cannella to reminisce and look ahead.
Q. With offices on both coasts, you still run the show from a small midwestern town?
A. We've always been based in Burlington, Wis. I moved here from Chicago after falling in love with this rural community. Partner/owner Rob Medved and I manage all of the infomercial, cable and marketing functions here. Our Los Angeles office is run by partner/owner Bill Raymond. Los Angeles places and manages all of our infomercial broadcast and regional cable networks. In New York, Eunjung Lee, another DRTV veteran, manages our short-form and new business services there.
Q. Can you talk about your professional background and how you came to found your company 20 years ago?
A. I was at an agency in Chicago where I pitched a lead that became the rebirth of the infomercial — at the time it was called a "program-length advertisement." Since the concept was so new and a number of the early entrants were business-opportunity infomercials, I was approached by one of them to consult and train their media department. Those early training sessions included some of today's media icons: David Chaladoff, Tim Hawthorne, Katie Williams, Mark Amuso and Marilyn Stewart (founder of Mercury Media). From there a number of other offers started to come in and before I knew it I was self-employed.
Q. What does Cannella Response Television Inc. do for its clients?
A. We are more than a DRTV media placement company. We get involved in our clients' businesses. We're constantly looking at ways to improve their vendor relationships, promote joint ventures, review production scripts and rough cuts, give input to telemarketing scripts and upsells and, of course, place media. We've always been known as the "Cable Kings" of the infomercial business. Our firm has always attracted entrepreneurial firms, which has kept this business even more exciting. Our clients appreciate our straightforward approach and they move quickly — just like the DRTV business.
Q. What have been your most successful campaigns during the past 20 years? Why do you think they were so successful?
A.We're proudest of Tae Bo and the Banjo Minnow. Epil Stop was huge, too. But we've been behind so many other campaigns with our media inventory. We have fueled some of the industry's fastest and most furious rollouts. Of course, value and margins and good management all come into play. However, what many don't consider is that a big part of the success of a major campaign is the ability to access the best time. We know that, because we have it!
Q. How does a company stay in business 20 years in what has been a very competitive space?