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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 May, 2007 By: Thomas Haire, Courtney Beth Pugatch Response


Mercury, ARM Combine to Create Largest Independent DR Media Agency


The new Mercury Media Holdings (MMH) claims gross billings of $350 million.

By Thomas Haire (

SANTA MONICA, Calif., and MARLBORO, Mass. — West Coast joins East Coast. Long-form DR is added to short-form DR. This is the result of an April 11 announcement that DRTV media pioneers Mercury Media and Advanced Results Marketing (ARM) have merged to create Mercury Media Holdings (MMH). MMH claims gross billings of more than $350 million, which would make it the largest independent DRTV media agency.

 A life-changing moment for a young girl in Cape Town, South Africa, who received a wheelchair donated through the Wheelchair Foundation.
A life-changing moment for a young girl in Cape Town, South Africa, who received a wheelchair donated through the Wheelchair Foundation.

"The size of our new company, combined with strong financial partners and the depth of our expertise, will be helpful as work with corporate and brand-oriented marketers in the education and understanding of how DRTV can work for them," says MMH President and CEO Steve Nober in an exclusive interview with Response. "The concept of measurable media and real-time ROI analysis attached to a television media strategy is still a new concept. Eight out of 10 brand marketers still think that brand cannot be measured. We think we can help reduce those numbers."

Mercury founders Dan Danielson and John Cabrinha are co-chairmen of MMH, and Nober is now the CEO of MMH. The company's long-form, short-form and traditional media divisions will continue to operate independently in existing locations in California, Arizona and Massachusetts — Danielson and Cabrinha will run Mercury Media in Santa Monica, with Beth Vendice continuing to serve as divisional president of ARM.

A team from Petsky Prunier LLC served as exclusive financial advisors to ARM, initiating, structuring and negotiating the transaction on behalf of ARM's shareholders. Nober says that equity investor Eos, which became involved with Mercury in March 2006 by sponsoring a recapitalization of the company, worked closely with the Mercury team to negotiate and structure the transaction. "Given their experience in the marketing services industry, their access to capital and their experience with growth businesses, Eos was a logical fit for us," he adds.

Nober contends that Mercury's recent focus on building the short-form side of its business in recent years led to its interest in teaming with ARM. Mercury has long been known as a leader on the long-form DR side of the business. "Given ARM's reputation in the marketplace and their traction and experience with direct response and corporate advertisers, we viewed the merger as a very attractive opportunity to bring two best-of-breed agencies, with highly complementary services, together under one company," he says. "ARM has a great management team, an impressive approach to short-form media buying and very happy clients. This made our decision making process very easy."

Nober credits a maturing in the DR business for the recent spate of consolidation. He adds, "I also think it indicates that DRTV is being taken more seriously by the 'mainstream.' We have heard for years that direct response is the wave of the future. We are living in that future right now, and I think that things will continue to escalate. Advertisers and marketers are looking to put their advertising dollars into measurable media, and DRTV provides that opportunity. The merger of ARM and Mercury is another sign of the times."


Inaugural Wheelchair Foundation Dinner Set for Oct. 26 in L.A.


By Thomas Haire (

CAMARILLO, Calif. and TORRANCE, Calif. — The Wheelchair Foundation, which has become a charity of choice for many companies in the direct response business, has set its inaugural charity dinner for October 26, 2007, at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The event, which is also being coordinated by platinum sponsor Imagine Fulfillment Services (IFS), will kick of with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and a program at 6:30 p.m.

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