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Direct Response Marketing

Still Wondering About DR? Ask the True Believers in Housewares

1 Mar, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response

The history of the housewares market in the direct response marketing field is, perhaps, longer and more storied than any other vertical.


Since television's advent in the late 1940s, when on-screen product demonstrations became commonplace, the housewares market has been full of true believers in the power of direct response. In fact, the very first 30-minute demonstration "infomercial" in those early days of television was Arnold Morris' "Arnold's Kitchen Gourmet." Since then, TV has always been the best medium for the incredible demonstrability of the best housewares products — from cooking products to cleaning items and everything in between.

And though the list of successful housewares products that began in the direct response world is long — from OxiClean to the George Foreman Grill to just about Ron Popeil's entire oeuvre — major branders in the housewares space have always been among the leaders in combining the power and measurability of direct response with the emotional power of branding.

Just think of these brands: KitchenAid, Sunbeam, Conair, Oreck, SC Johnson, DuPont and Procter & Gamble. Now, realize that this list barely scratches the surface of those companies that have long utilized direct response marketing as a part of their campaigns' mix. In fact, if you were to walk the floor at this month's International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, you'd likely be hard pressed to find one major housewares brand that is not now utilizing the tenets of direct response in their campaigns — be they online, on TV, in print or via mobile.

And today, the biggest housewares retailers — from the major department stores to specialty retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond to online retailers like — urge those seeking shelf space or even highlighted locations to begin a rollout with a DR campaign that will not only test the product's worthiness of such space, but will also build brand recognition that will translate to in-store sales. This is a far cry from a decade ago, when many retailers feared direct response campaigns because, short-sightedly, they believed every product sold on TV would cut into their sales. Now, the truth is out, and retailers love it.

While many housewares products have had incredible direct response sales success — good sales numbers are always popular, especially in a down economy — the marketers in this space may have a better understanding than those in any other category about the wonderful mix that is branded-response advertising. Time and time again, they've seen it in action, whether building a new brand via DR or improving the ROI of an established brand.

For this and many other reasons, Response has spent a great part of its 17 years working with, in and around the leaders of the housewares space. As we continue to lead the DR industry forward, we know that the success of housewares marketers will continue to lead others to test direct response as part of their marketing arsenals.

We look forward to seeing you during the Housewares show in Chicago — especially at our industry cocktail event on March 23 at the lush Martini Park lounge.

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