July 13, 2017

The Mid-Year True Top 50

It's time once again for the TRUE TOP 50, brought to you by DRMetrix and The SciMark Report. This chart covers the first half of 2017. Click on the image below to see the most-aired DRTV campaigns in rank order and also learn which advertisers dominated the airwaves. Then read on for kudos, call-outs and commentary.

(Click to see the complete chart)


As you know, my informal awards were officially replaced this year by the The AdSphere™ Awards, which were handed out in April at Response Expo. Still, it's fun to call out and congratulate the marketers and producers who are dominating the charts.

For the first half, the top-marketer honor must go to IDEAVILLAGE PRODUCTS CORP. once again. IdeaVillage had five of the top 10 biggest spending campaigns, and nine campaigns in the True Top 50 overall -- an incredible achievement. Indeed, no marketer comes close to spending what IdeaVillage is spending in support of its campaigns.

In second place is E. MISHAN & SONS. Emson had eight campaigns in the True Top 50, including four in the top 25. This is a huge achievement for Emson, which only last year was last among the "Big Five" with just two campaigns in the 2016 True Top 50.

Speaking of the Big Five, here are the counts for the remaining members:

  • Telebrands (7)
  • Ontel (3)
  • Allstar (2)


The Copper Fit juggernaut technically gives the top-producer slot to BLUE REEF PRODUCTIONS once again. However, no less than three other producers put up an equal number of hits. They are:

PADDOCK PRODUCTIONS with three hits for one marketer and a fourth hit for another marketer. They were behind Bell+Howell TacLight Lantern (17), Bell+Howell TacLight (26) and RoboTwist (43) as well as the 2017 $50 Gold Buffalo Tribute Proof (47) for the National Collectors Mint.

HUTTON-MILLER with four hits for three different marketers. They were behind Emson's Clorox ScrubTastic (13) and Brooklyn Brownie Copper (46), SAS Group's Fuller Brush Roto Sweep (30) and Top Dog's Futzuki (36).

COLE MEDIA, also with three hits for one marketer and a fourth for another. They were behind Telebrands' Hurricane Spin Scrubber (9) and Emson's Gotham Steel Crisper Tray (19), BetterBrella (23) and Gotham Steel Pan (48).

Finally, SULLIVAN PRODUTIONS deserves an honorable mention for having three hits -- and a half (a collaboration with another producer). One of these was Spin Spa, the second biggest spender on the chart.


Recall “feeder” is my term for a smaller company that “feeds” hits to the advertiser/distributors shown on the charts. This time around, based on what my research was able to turn up, the top feeder is PARAGON PRODUCTS.

Paragon had three hits in the True Top 50: Bell+Howell TacLight (8), Bell+Howell TacLight Lantern (17) and RoboTwist (43), all with Emson. Full disclosure: Paragon Products is a partnership between Bill Quarless of Impact Products and yours truly.


Here's what I took away from the latest chart in terms of trends. First and foremost, "duels" continue to dominate the industry with no less than five such battles taking up significant space on the chart.

The ongoing "pan wars" produced four True Top 50 hits: Emson's Gotham Steel Crisper Tray (19) and Gotham Steel Pan (48) as well as Telebrands' Red Copper Square Dance Pan (42) and Red Copper Square Pan (49). The same players' battle over tactical-themed lighting gave us three hits: Emson's Bell+Howell TacLight (26) and TacLight Lantern (17) as well as Telebrands' Atomic Beam Lantern (45). And yet another battle between these two rivals gave us Hurricane Spin Scrubber (9) and Clorox ScrubTastic (13).

Meanwhile, Ontel's battle with Telebrands over air compressors produced another two hits (Air Hawk & Air Dragon) and SAS Group's battle with Telebrands in floor care produced two more (Fuller Brush Roto Sweep & Hurricane Spin Broom). That's 13 hits, or one in four, born of duels.

Second, old duels where one brand emerged as victor continue to contribute to overall hit totals. I've already mentioned the continued dominance of the Copper Fit brand (5, 6, 14 & 32), but the Pocket Hose (21), Yoshi (27) and Miracle Bamboo (37) brands are also worth noting. Speaking of brands that continue to produce, Phil Swift's Flex brand certainly deserves mention as well. It saw one new item, Flex Tape (4), and one older item, Flex Seal Liquid (44), make the chart.

Last, let's talk about categories. I've already written extensively about the resurgence of lighting, which has persisted thanks to the "tactical" trend. Another interesting resurgence is floor care. Traditionally a tough category for short-form DRTV, with hits few and far between, the first half of 2017 saw an unusual number of such items. These include Allstar's Baseboard Buddy (16), Shark's Rocket Complete (28), SAS Group's Fuller Brush Roto Sweep (30) and Telebrands' Hurricane Spin Broom (31).

Another surprise is bathroom cleaning, which supported three hits with fairly high rankings: Hurricane Spin Scrubber (9), Clorox ScrubTastic (13) and Eagle Eye's Clean Reach (34). It just goes to show that few bad categories remain bad categories for long. This truly is an item business.

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