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Field Reports

1 Apr, 2009 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response


Bolte Taylor Set to Kick Off Response Expo 2009 on May 19

By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Renowned neuroanatomist and author Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor will bring her inspiring story to attendees of Response Expo 2009 as the event's keynote speaker on Tuesday, May 19 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Dr. Bolte Taylor's address is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The event will run through Thursday, May 21.

 Shelly Palmer
Shelly Palmer

One of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2008, Dr. Bolte Taylor experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. The stroke left her without the ability to walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life. It took eight years for Dr. Bolte Taylor to completely recover all of her functions and thinking ability.

She went on to author the New York Times bestselling memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (published in 2008 by Viking Penguin). In addition, Dr. Bolte Taylor was a featured guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and serves as the National Spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

Response Expo is expecting 2,000 attendees during the three-day event at the brand new Hilton Bayfront, located on the water in downtown San Diego, directly across from Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. During the event, attendees will not only hear from Dr. Bolte Taylor, but also from industry-recognized consultant and media personality Shelly Palmer, a regular contributor to the Jack Myers Report, The Huffington Post and CNN. Palmer will deliver a special breakfast address, "Get Digital," at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 21.

A full schedule of seminar sessions — featuring speakers from such companies as Hyundai, InterContinental Hotels, Kodak, JG Wentworth, L'Oréal, 5-Hour Energy, AccuQuote, Buy.com and more — as well as three huge networking parties highlight the three-day event. The closing night party on May 21 is a private event at Sea World, one of San Diego's most renowned attractions.

For more information on the speakers and events, or to register for Response Expo 2009, visit www.responseexpo.com.

Shifferaw Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Marketers of Ab Rocket

By Jacqueline Renfrow (jrenfrow@questex.com)

ALBANY, Calif. — T. Dosho Shifferaw, an inventor of fitness equipment, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Emson USA, E. Mishan & Sons Inc., Academy Sports & Outdoors and Amazon.com in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division on Feb. 19. The suit claims that a recently introduced abdominal product, the Ab Rocket, infringes on two of Dosho Design Inc.'s patents, both licensed exclusively to Shifferaw, the company's founder/president and CEO.



Shifferaw's patented technology, the Lift-Assist System, consists of six Lift-Assist Powerbands for a full range of ab exercises. The Ab Rocket, being marketed in commercials, infomercials and E-commerce sites, includes resistance cylinders to be used for an abdominal workout.

Shifferaw tells Response that the lawsuit affected him on a personal level. "When I first came up with the Lift-Assist system, people in the industry criticized and belittled it. I was continually asked why anyone would want an ab product that does the work for you. Nevertheless, I believed in the Lift-Assist concept and marketed it as the Ab-Lifter by Kathy Smith. Kathy was one person who believed in it enough to endorse it. And it did very well. That was seven years ago."

Eddie Mishan of Emson tells Response, "The company plans to aggressively refute the allegations made in the filed lawsuit through the litigation process."

A court date has not yet been set for the trial.

Total U.S. Ad Spending Fell 2.6 Percent Last Year – DR Up 9.2 Percent

By Jacqueline Renfrow (jrenfrow@questex.com)

NEW YORK — U.S. advertising for 2008 was down 2.6 percent from 2007, dropping $3.7 billion to a total spend of $136.8 billion, reports The Nielsen Co. However, the study noted that direct response product spending was up 9.2 percent, a boon to the method's "recession-proof" image.



The only two media that showed growth in 2008 were Hispanic cable TV, up 9.6 percent, and cable TV, up 7.8 percent. Cable was the highest revenue-generating medium with $26.6 billion in sales.

"Given the state of the U.S. economy, a decline in ad spending was expected, but it's not as bad as it could have been," says Annie Touliatos, vice president of sales development for Monitor-Plus, Nielsen's ad tracking service. "The campaign season and the Summer Olympics were two big events that had a tremendous impact on advertising, especially on TV buys."

In print, local and national newspaper ads declined 10.2 percent and 9.6 percent, while national magazine spending fell 7.6 percent and local magazine spending dropped 3.7 percent. New media also took a hit, with Internet ad spend dropping 6.4 percent and network TV dropping 3.5 percent. However, TV still came out as the dominant ad channel in 2008, with 60 percent of all ad dollars being spent on network, cable, Hispanic or spot TV.

The top 10 advertisers spent a total of $15.5 billion in 2008, 15 percent less than in 2007. In addition, none of these top 10 advertisers spent more in 2008 than in 2007. Though Procter & Gamble was the top advertiser again this year, the company's spend declined 19 percent from last year.

More specifically, pharmaceutical companies cut spending by 18 percent, automotive cut by 15.5 percent, and department stores were down 2.6 percent. One big spender in the retail space was Wal-Mart, which increased spending by 55 percent over 2007 to $771 million in ad buys.

FTC Ruling Made Without Industry Input

By Jacqueline Renfrow (jrenfrow@questex.com)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rescinded its Mirror Image Doctrine (MID) in late February, a policy that stated the agency would not ordinarily challenge advertising claims that promote the sale of books or other publications when the advertising is only the opinion of the author. According to attorney Gary Hailey of Venable LLP in Washington, the decision may be a sign that the FTC will be cracking down on freedom of speech when it comes to selling products not backed by scientific or government research.



In an exclusive interview with Response, Hailey expressed concern that the decision was made without soliciting opinions of those in the marketing industry. "The FTC wouldn't have changed this ruling if it hadn't planned or hoped or thought it could be more aggressive in its policy," he says.

Under the MID, anyone could write a book expressing an idea, product, cure, etc., without the backing of scientific research and advertise it. For products often sold through direct response, this means the product, if represented in a publication, could be promoted in advertising without a disclaimer.

In Hailey's opinion, it is buyer beware: people should know a book, unless otherwise stated, reflects only the beliefs of the author. "Can we just assume or do we have to say it? Where's the line to be drawn is what I'm concerned about," says Hailey. "What the FTC is really saying is that if this book doesn't fit the mold of mainstream belief, we need to shut it down. Does the FTC want to start taking sides?"

Hailey does not believe it was coincidence that the FTC rescinded the MID and recently finished its most recent court case with Kevin Trudeau. Trudeau was banned from appearing in infomercials because he violated FTC law, and he could only sell his products through publications. "Perhaps they were frustrated by not being able to get Trudeau," he says. "Frankly, this will spill into a lot of mainstream publishers who will be uncertain in advertisements how to disclaim a book."

One of Hailey's concerns is where marketers will go from here without guidelines to follow. Without guidelines, marketers may have to guess at where to draw the line. "This is what they [FTC] said the rules were, and now they're pulling the rug out from under us," says Hailey.

Although Hailey does not think the new ruling will have an immediate effect, he believes that eventually the FTC will find an extreme case to make an example of, and then the agency will move more and more toward mainstream examples. "There is no way to appeal this. They [FTC] issued it. We're going to have to wait until someone gets sued and then we'll have our chance to challenge it," says Hailey.

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