The peer-review period is over. Here are the True Top Spenders for the first six months of 2014.
A handful of producers didn't claim their work, and their clients weren't forthcoming, so the chart still has a few holes. So be it. For the rest, it's time to give credit where credit is due. It's time to reveal the smart, hard-working folks who produced the most hits so far this year. Without further ado ...
True Top Marketer: IdeaVillage Products Corp!
IdeaVillage takes the No. 1 spot with a whopping NINE campaigns on the list. I welcome them back to the top of this chart: It has been a while: The last time they hit No.1 was 2010. This is also a big leap forward from 2013 when IdeaVillage had 'only' four rollouts on the list and didn't even place. Congratulations to the IV team.
Close behind IdeaVillage is last year's True Top Marketer, Telebrands, with an impressive EIGHT campaigns on the chart. Telebrands has consistently ranked at or near the top of this chart since I started putting it out. That in itself is quite an achievement.
Everyone else trails by a significant gap with two or three hits apiece. However, a few deserve honorable mentions. Congratulations to Norman Direct for joining 'The True Spenders Club' with a respectable two rollouts (Easy View & Mr. Lid) and to Infomercials Inc, the only combination marketer/producer on the list, also with two rollouts (Miracle Grill Mat & Speed Out).
Speaking of producers, here's your other big winner ...
True Top Producer: Hutton-Miller!
Hutton-Miller climbs back into first place with five campaigns on the list. This is their second time taking the top spot, the last time being 2011. I suspect their placement has suffered in recent years because of my focus on 120-second campaigns. The H-M powerhouse is perhaps best known for an unbroken string of successes in the toy category, and those campaigns tend to run 60s. In any case, congratulations to Peter, John and the rest of their talented creative team.
As for the runners' up: Concepts TV, last year's True Top Producer, just missed the top spot again with four campaigns. Meanwhile, Blue Moon and Cole Media tied for third, and both Kerrmercials and Morgan James deserve honorable mentions with a laudable two rollouts each.
As for me, no one should be lauding my track record! Sure, I called three correctly (MicroTouch Switch Blade, Grassology & Chop Magic), but that mild achievement quickly fades next to the 10 I got wrong. I did sit the fence on an additional five, which is pretty positive for me, but no excuses -- I guessed incorrectly far too many times.
Of the ones I underestimated, two of them helped me discover a new category. Combined with Gyro Bowl (a 2011 True Top Spender), Snackeez and Wow Cup complete the three I require to establish 'toddlerware' as a valid DR category. I don't mind being wrong when it's educational!
As for which campaign shocked me the most, that would have to be MicroTouch One. Who could have guessed that a single-blade razor my grandpa used could compete with the 5-blade vibrating wonders of today? Some very smart people, it seems. Regarding one of them: Years ago, I did a panel with Fred Vanore of Blue Moon Studios called "Turning Losers Into Winners." Well, this year Fred once again proved he's an expert on this subject by taking a losing concept that had already failed once on TV (Akira) and turning it into a major winner. Kudos to him and the other marketing geniuses behind this surprise hit!