IRVINE, Calif. – Response Magazine and its Advisory Board are proud to announce the inductees for 2018 class of the Direct Response Hall of Fame. The group features seven long-time leaders in the DR marketing world. They are: Hal Altman, Fern Lee, Keith Mirchandani, Cathy Mitchell, Steve Netzley, Colleen Szot, and Dick Wechsler.
“Not only does this sixth class of inductees to the DR Hall of Fame boast a rich history spanning the breadth of the DR world – from marketer to agency to host, and from front end to back – but, as usual, it features leaders who remain vibrant forces in today’s industry,” says Thomas Haire, editor-in-chief of Response. “The Response Advisory Board, previous Hall of Fame inductees, and Response’s executive leadership – those involved in the nominating process – are thrilled to welcome this group of the Hall of Fame.”
The induction class will be honored during a series of afternoon events at MTC Expo at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Thursday, April 26, 2018. The events will include a special panel discussion with a group of the inductees on hand, as well as the official induction event. More information on MTC Expo can be found at www.mtcshow.com.
Response Magazine and its Advisory Board started the Direct Response Hall of Fame in 2013 to create the opportunity to honor those individuals whose careers in the marketing business stand as a beacon of success.
“The DR Hall of Fame is proud to welcome this latest class of inductees, a group of visionaries who have had massive success – and taken part in billions of dollars in sales – in direct response marketing,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response. “With more than three-dozen nominees submitted this year by our nominators, this group represents the highest level of achievement – a level that can only be saluted properly by induction to the DR Hall of Fame.”
Here are brief biographies of the 2018 inductees:
Hal Altman co-founded MFALS in 1977, and today is known as one of the most trusted and admired professionals in the fulfillment and logistics industry. His knowledge and expertise has been welcomed as a guest speaker and panelist for Response Expo, the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), U.S. Post Office, National Postal Day, Southern California Marketing Association, National Web Marketing Association, and many others. Motivational is the first full service fulfillment company to offer continuity and installment payment programs for infomercials. Altman is a committed family man and admits that family extends beyond his immediate family to his employees and their families. Altman sits as Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors for Merage Jewish Community Center and, through MFALS, contributes to numerous youth organizations and charities including the City of Chino YMCA and various Little League, Pop Warner Football, and AYSO Soccer leagues. Altman’s family also participates annually in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and contributes to search for a cure for breast cancer.
Fern Lee is an award-winning marketing professional with a proven track record of increasing awareness, revenues, consumer usage, and asset values for multiple globally recognized media, entertainment, and lifestyle/fitness/pharma brands. Lee served as the head of direct response at Good Times Entertainment/Gaiam, bringing fitness hits Billy Blanks, THE FIRM, and Richard Simmons incredible success both domestically and internationally. TurboCooker and GTXpress were also multi-million-dollar revenue generators in DTC and retail initiatives. For the past 10 years, Lee has dedicated her talents as CEO of THOR Associates, creating a premier omnichannel strategic marketing agency. Under the THOR Associates umbrella, she is proud to have provided services to select clients, such as MetLife, AIG, Humana, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Balsam Hill, FocusFactor, KUMON, InventHelp, GalleryDirect.com, MedicareAdvantage.com, ClickNKids, Zestra, ReBloom, SmartSilk, and Migralex to drive transactional revenue.
Since founding Tristar Products Inc. more than 25 years ago, Keith Mirchandani has revolutionized the direct response business. Well known in the industry for identifying market potential, he has transformed countless original ideas into No. 1 brands worldwide. As president and CEO of Tristar, Mirchandani and his team enjoy more than $1 billion in retail sales.
Cathy Mitchell is often referred to as the “Infomercial Queen.” An author and As Seen On TV host, Mitchell has authored nine cookbooks including “Dump Cakes,” “Dump Dinners,” “Crock Pot Dump Meals,” and the most recent, “Red Copper Skillet Cooking.” A regular television guest, Mitchell has been featured with her recipes and products on The Rachael Ray Show, NBC’s Today, Hallmark’s Home & Family, The Steve Harvey Show, Pickler & Ben and many others. Over the course of her career, Mitchell has been the face of countless As Seen on TV products, including the entire Red Copper line from BulbHead.com, Flat Fold Colander, Pasta Boat, Stonewave, Snackmaster, Microcrisp, Turbo Cooker, Fry Pro 2, and Xpress Redi-Set-Go among others.
Steve Netzley has been leading the innovative expansion of the performance marketing industry for more than 25 years as founder and CEO of Havas Edge. Edge has succeeded by leveraging the best talent, technology, and analytics solutions in its media and marketing campaigns, building clients businesses and brands with a focus on profitable scalability. Netzley is a frequent keynote speaker on performance marketing and is humbled by the quality of the Havas Edge client roster.
After 20 years working at such top advertising agencies as J. Walter Thompson, Foote, Cone & Belding, and McCann, Colleen Szot turned her attention to a growing medium: direct response. Her first retainer client was NordicTrack, and soon she became one of the most successful writers in paid programming, scripting shows for George Foreman, Orlimar Trimetal, Sleep Number, and eight different shows for Tony Little. Most recently, Szot authored the highly successful My Pillow script, although she is quick to point out she had nothing to do with the production.
Dick Wechsler is president and CEO of Lockard & Wechsler, a full-service direct marketing agency, which has grown from $3 million to $650 million in annual media billings. Early in his career, Wechsler – a member of the DRMA, as well as a past member of the board of directors for the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) – realized that good creative and the ability to quickly access and analyze data were the keys to successful direct response marketing. Most recently, he’s led an initiative to develop tools and strategies to plan, track and analyze integrated media campaigns that support direct and retail channels and push online campaigns beyond their traditional scalability limits.