It's that time again! The data is in and all the fact checking is done. Here are the True Top Spenders of 2015:
And the winners are ...
True Top Marketer: Telebrands
True Top Producer: Hutton-Miller
Telebrands earns the top spot for the fourth year in a row. AJ and his killer team had an astounding 12 campaigns on the list. That's two more than last year, and the most they have ever had in True Top Spender history. They just keep getting better and better!
Meanwhile, Hutton-Miller takes the top spot for production for the second year in a row. Last year, they had seven commercials on the list, and this year they also have seven commercials. Only one was a repeat. If I counted 60s, that number would be even higher since they do almost all of the winning kid DRTV campaigns in a given year. Worth mentioning in this regard were the Wubble Bubble line extensions from last year (Wubble X, Glow Wubble). The H-M team also had a few 120s roll out that fell short of my cutoff for the year (at least $2 million) but still made an impact on the marketplace. It was an awesome year any way you slice it, so congratulations once again to John, Peter and all the folks down in Boca Raton.
Before I move on to the other noteworthy accomplishments last year, I'm going to debut a new award recognizing outstanding achievement in marketing and production. The industry champions I'm about to introduce deserve high praise even though they fell short of the top slot. (You'll see why.) I'm calling them my "SciMark Stars." Without further ado, here are the winners for 2015 ...
SciMark Star Marketer: Ontel
SciMark Star Producer: Paddock
Ontel has accomplished something truly impressive. In just one year, this marketer has gone from a single campaign on the True Top Spenders to no less than eight campaigns on the chart and undisputed second place. Special kudos to Amar and the Ontel team for an astounding turnaround and an amazing year!
As for Paddock Productions, it's long past time this veteran production company was recognized. Paddock has been the behind-the-scenes secret of many marketers and producers over the years. (Full disclosure: This includes me.) Because they are a true production company, often leaving the writing and creative directing to others, they aren't always named in association with their hits. It's time to fix that and shine the spotlight on this amazing team. If I added up and gave them credit for everything they produced last year, they would have taken the top spot with eight qualifying commercials. Congratulations to them!
Speaking of Paddock affiliates, I have another inspiring story to share. The runner-up for True Top Producer this year is Kerrmercials with six campaigns on the list. That's double the number they had on this chart last year when I highlighted Tim Kerr's "rise to the top." Well, he's reached the top now and only needs a few more hits to claim its peak!
THE TOP FIVE
For those keeping score, here are the top five marketers and producers for 2015 in rank order. The number of campaigns on the list follows the name (in parentheses).
- Telebrands (12)
- Ontel (8)
- Allstar (7)
- Emson (5)
- IdeaVillage (5)
- Hutton-Miller (7)
- Kerrmercials (6)
- Opfer (4)
- Concepts/Schwartz/Sullivan (3)
- Paddock (2/8*)
* Paddock has two campaigns under its own name but was also behind six others.
TRUE TOP FEEDER
Last year, I introduced the idea of recognizing smaller players that bring tested winners to larger players (aka "feeders"). If you click through to the full list for 2015, you'll notice I am once again crediting all the feeders in the marketer column when they are known.
If there were an award for True Top Feeder of the year, Infomercials Inc. would win it this year with three campaigns on the list. Technically, they should also tie for fourth on the top producers list, since they shot all three commercials as well. Speaking of multi-way ties, runner-up for top feeder would be a three-way tie between Lenfest, Permission Interactive and Paragon Products. Each had two campaigns on the list. (Full disclosure: I am a partner in Paragon.)
I no longer make predictions, but I do still make my opinions known. Here are the cases where I was the most wrong:
1. Colorama. I already ate crow for this terrible call, but the mea culpa deserves repeating. The worst part is my snark turned around and bit me! I pitied the production team, and they laughed all the way to the bank. [Read my original comments here.]
2. 5 Second Fix/Lazer Bond. Ouch. I was dead wrong about this one. Credibility is still one of the trickiest criteria I use to assess DRTV products. It's so hard to guess what America will find believable. Here I learned that people apparently believe an LED light works like a welding torch and can turn Super Glue into something magical. [Read my original comments here.]
3. Big Vision. I saw this one as being closer to eyeglasses (bad track record) than magnifying devices (good track record). Apparently, I was wrong. The smaller-than-optimal market size didn't seem to matter, either. This year's True Top Producer and SciMark Star Marketer teamed up to make it work. [Read my original comments here.]
4. Clever Grip. There's only room for one ... except when there's room for two. This one also showed me that a sub-category (car mounts) of one of the worst DRTV categories (phone/tablet accessories) is actually a source of hits. [Read my original comments here.]
5. DashCam Pro. Although I was aware of the popularity of dash-cams overseas, I didn't think this sort of product was right for the US market. I was wrong. [Read my original comments here.]
Those were the notable ones. Let me know if you think I missed any.