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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

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


A. I've been at HSN for about 15 years between my two stints — about five years currently — and being there that long, I've seen about nine or 10 management changes. Mindy Grossman is far more impressive to me than any president I've seen at the company in many years. I've never seen anybody so hands-on, someone with such a "go-out-and-get-it-done" attitude in my whole life. They've brought in big names, like Emeril, Tori Spelling, the Hiltons — that's all her. Still, while sales in the TV shopping space are down for everybody, my products are still on the rise. I feel pretty fortunate. July was a big month and I think we're going to kick some booty in the third and fourth quarters.

Q. What's in the new business well for you and your marketing company?

A. I have some different strategies, including starting my own multilevel marketing company called Body Alive. My products and services are pretty well placed in a lot of areas, but Body Alive could be sort of a retirement strategy. I have a good reputation for quality products, a great base of consumer loyalty, and yet I don't really have any market for myself in nutritional supplements. Body Alive should allow me to enter that marketplace and control my destiny. It's a great outlet for products sold under my name to have a second life through home distribution. We're working on video/DVD presentations that make it easy for clients to let me sell for them.

Q. How important have your longest lasting relationships in the DR business been to you and your success?

A. I've done three infomercials with Kevin and Tim Harrington, since back when they were National Media — Target Training in 1993, Ab Isolator a couple years later and, now, the new Rock 'n Roll Stepper. Most of my hits have been with Fitness Quest, working with Bob Schnabel, Mike Clark and Karel Rolli. They create the highest end of fitness product quality and infomercial production. If I am marketing a fitness product, nine times out of 10, it will be with them. The big test for Mike Clark when he's deciding to do a project is to ask me, "Are you passionate about it, Tony?" If I say yes, they will give it a try. They simply bring a lot of credibility to our industry. Kevin and Tim are a lot more flamboyant. Kevin's funny — you're either hugging him, high-fiving him or he's shouting, "Let's do it again!" Tim's a very smart businessman, and when I looked at this latest product with Kevin and him, it took us two minutes to know we could make something of it.

Google Adds Advertisements to YouTube Videos

By Courtney Beth Pugatch ( cpugatch@questex.com ) and Thomas Haire ( thaire@questex.com)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — When Google purchased the YouTube video sharing service last year, critics were wondering when Google would cash in on its $1.65 billion investment. On Aug. 21, Google finally unveiled what could possibly be the biggest moneymaking item from YouTube: semi-transparent ads that appear as strips along the bottom of videos.

Google explains that the ads will allow advertisers to target specific types of consumers anonymously, based mainly on demographics, geography, and time of day or type of content. For example, the information YouTube provides when users sign up lets marketers advertise to a selected group (i.e. sports enthusiasts) in a specific region (i.e. Los Angeles).

The experiment, which took several weeks to complete, featured ads on videos from the Warner Music Group, Ford Models and Internet starlet lonelygirl15. YouTube product manager Shashi Seth said that he saw a higher response rate in the ads, as 75 percent of those who started to watch the ads kept viewing until the end.

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