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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Oct, 2008 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response


Miller/Abruzzese Luncheon and Party Circuit Highlight ERA's Annual Las Vegas Event


By Thomas Haire ( and Jacqueline Renfrow (

The annual Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) convention returned to the Paris Las Vegas resort Sept. 21-23. The event was highlighted by a series of networking events held by some of the biggest companies in the traditional direct response business, as well as a special luncheon interview on Monday, Sept. 22 featuring comedian Dennis Miller and Joe Abruzzese, president of advertising sales at Discovery Communications.

Key cocktail events during the show included Sunday events hosted by ABC Networks, West Corp., Discovery, REVShare and the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Broadcast Council. On Monday evening, ERA hosted a cocktail reception poolside at the Paris, while companies including Ignite Media Solutions, JBT Media and LiveOps also hosted convention-goers. Also, on Monday evening, Imagine Fulfillment (IFS), FedEx, Lockard & Wechsler and Response co-hosted an event at the new Trump Intl. Hotel that drew more than 400 revelers.

Monday's general session and luncheon featured Miller mixing satire with a set of questions for Abruzzese, following an introduction by Rick Petry, ERA's interim president and CEO.

Miller warmed up the room with some jokes about Las Vegas and then moved into his familiar genre of politics, taking aim at both presidential candidates — Senators Barack Obama and John McCain — and poking fun at national issues, such as global warming, direct-to-consumer drugs and oil. "We'll replace oil when we run out if it," said Miller. "That's why I drive an SUV, so we'll run out of it more quickly."

Discovery Communications' Joe Abruzzese
Discovery Communications' Joe Abruzzese

Miller then invited Abruzzese on-stage for an interview that began with questions about the future of TV advertising. Abruzzese spoke confidently that cable was in a secure place and was only set to grow in the future. "Broadcast sells shows, cable sells brands," he said.

On Sept. 21, Discovery hosted hundreds of revelers at Caesars Palace's Pure nightclub.
On Sept. 21, Discovery hosted hundreds of revelers at Caesars Palace's Pure nightclub.

Abruzzese credited direct response for some of the most innovative advertising being done. As an example, he discussed a recent parstnership between Discovery Communications and McDonalds that would install big-screen televisions and WiFi into the fast-food chain's restaurants to draw its customer base, which is increasingly using the drive-thru option, back into the restaurant. He also spoke about the growing importance of the Web in DR and the emergence of new media. But Abruzzese warned, "We [marketers] have a tendency to overreact," contending traditional channels such as television, radio and print were not going away.


Ad Spending Declines in First Half of 2008


By Jacqueline Renfrow (

NEW YORK — Total measured advertising for the first half of 2008 declined by 1.6 percent, compared to the first half of 2007, according to a report by TNS Media Intelligence.

More specifically, in the second quarter, ad spending was down 3.7 percent from the same time last year, making it the largest quarterly drop since 2001.

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