August 05, 2019

New & True: Socket Shelf

Description: A shelf & outlet multiplier
Pitch: "Adds a shelf to any outlet for clutter-free counters"
Offer: $29.99 for one
Bonus: Free shipping
Brand: Sharper Image
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Kingstar
Rank: No. 12*
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This is a TLC project that finally paid off. It first tested in February of 2017.

This is another category where Allstar seems to have the magic touch. The company's Side Socket was a 2013 True Top Spender.

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 31 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Bella Brow

Description: A microblading eyebrow pen
Pitch: "Gives you naturally beautiful, full-looking eyebrows"
Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Dream Look
Marketer: SAS Group
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 24*
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It has been a while since SAS rolled out with a TV product under its "Dream" brand. The last time was eight years ago when the original Dream Look was No. 30 on the 2011 True Top 50.

To find the one before that, you'd have to jump back another six years to 2005. That's when Dream Lips was No. 71 on the JW Annual. The previous year, it had been No. 60 on the same chart while Dream Lash came in at No. 45.

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 31 (Source: AdSphere)

July 15, 2019

New & True: Bell+Howell Monster Trapper

Description: A UV bug trapper
Pitch: "Traps them in, then you dump them out"
Offer: $29.99 for one
Bonus: Free shipping
Brand: Bell+Howell
Marketer: Emson
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 24*
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This is one of two bug products Emson tested in April of this year. (The other was Solar Monster Zapper, a solar-powered mosquito killer.)

Telebrands followed in June with Mosquito Finito.

Ontel tried a product similar to this one in the summer of 2017 called Master Trap.

All of these appear to be value-priced variations of DynaTrap, which has been on the market for years.

A DynaTrap-branded product was tried on DRTV in the summer of last year. It was called DynaTrap Fly Light.

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 28 (Source: AdSphere)

May 28, 2019

New & True: Lash Ease

Description: A fiber lash mascara
Pitch: "Instant lash lift with buildable volume"
Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Rank: No. 33*
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Lash enhancement has a long and mostly disappointing history. Prior to last year, you'd have to go back to 2004 to find a 'true top spender' in the lash category: SAS Group's Dream Lash (No. 45 that year). Everyone took a shot, though.

IdeaVillage teamed up with Guthy-Renker to try Lash Appeal in 2011. Media Enterprises tried with Lashfull in 2012. Ontel tried with Max Lash in 2014.

Many of these commercials featured Taylor Baldwin, who finally hit with 3 Second Lash, No. 49 on the 2018 Mid-Year True Top 50. That was an Allstar campaign as well, making this their second rollout in as many years.

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 21 (Source: AdSphere)

May 06, 2019

New & True: Full Crystal Full Exterior

Description: A home exterior cleaning solution
Pitch: "Clean all the dirt & grime from around your house in no time"
Offer: $19.99 for one with bag of cleaning crystals
Bonus: Double the cleaning crystals (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Fuller Brush Co.
Starring: Jon Florell
Marketer: Hutton-Miller (2018 True Top Producer)
Producer: SAS Group
Rank: No. 13*
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This is a sequel to Full Crystal, which was No. 24 on the 2018 True Top 50 and is ranked No. 14 this week.

It is the fourth entry under the Fuller Brush Co. brand. The others were Pane DR (No. 42 on the 2018 Top 50) and Roto Sweep.

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 18 (Source: AdSphere)

April 22, 2019

New & True: Arctic Hat

Description: A cooling hat
Pitch: "Keeps you 20 degrees cooler and has a built-in UV barrier"
Offer: $19.99 for a brimmed hat or ball cap with free shipping
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Arctic
Marketer: Ontel
Rank: No. 21*
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Ontel's Arctic Air, a cooling product with a similar name in a completely different category, was No. 5 on the 2018 True Top 50.

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, 4/15-4/21/2019 (Source: AdSphere)

April 01, 2019

New & True: Flawless Body

Description: A body hair trimmer
Pitch: "The new gold standard in full body hair removal"
Offer: $29.99 for one with free shipping
Bonus: Rose Gold carrying case (free)
Brand: Finishing Touch Flawless
Marketer: IdeaVillage (2019 True Top Marketer)
Producer: Blue Reef
DRMetrix Rank: No. 35*
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This is the women's version of MicroTouch Solo. It is the fourth rollout in a line we now know is worth nearly $1 billion.

The other products in the line are Finishing Touch Flawless, currently No. 1 on the DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Flawless Brows (No. 12) and Flawless Legs (No. 17).

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, 3/25-3/31/2019 (Source: AdSphere)

March 28, 2019

Breaking News: IdeaVillage Sells Flawless, Finishing Touch for Nearly $1 Billion

Church & Dwight announced today that it will buy IdeaVillage's Finishing Touch and Flawless lines of hair-removal products for nearly $1 billion. (That is not a typo.)

According to MarketWatch:

Under terms of the deal, Church & Dwight will pay $475 million in cash, and an additional 'earn-out' payment of up to $425 million based on 12-month net sales targets. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

You can read the complete press release here.

Forget the rankings, I'm announcing it now: IdeaVillage is the TRUE TOP MARKETER of 2019!

MEGA congratulations to Andy Khubani and his team.

March 18, 2019

New & True: Flexible Mirror

Description: A vanity mirror
Pitch: "The light-up magnification mirror that comes to you"
Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Free shipping
Marketer: Emson (2018 True Top Marketer)
Producer: Hutton-Miller (2018 True Top Producer)
Rank: No. 18*
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Emson tested four mirrors in 2018. This is the fourth. The first, My Foldaway Mirror, was No. 48 on the 2018 True Top 50. They also tried a line extension called My Foldaway Compact and a vanity mirror with a built-in fan called Beauty Breeze.

* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, 3/11-3/17/2019 (Source: AdSphere)

March 10, 2019

The 2018 True Top 50

(Click to see the complete chart)

It took a little longer than usual, but it's time once again to announce last year's best of the best. Congratulations to the champions of 2018!


The full accounting is complete, and E. Mishan & Sons (aka Emson) takes the top spot once again. The company also dominated the mid-year rankings and will soon take home the AdSphere™ Advertiser of the Year trophy, making 2018 one of their best years ever!

Here's the ranking of the Big Five:

  1. Emson (12)
  3. Telebrands (12)
  5. IdeaVillage (9)
  7. Allstar (4)
  9. Ontel (2)

Although BulbHead (aka Telebrands) tied with Emson for number of hit campaigns in the top 50, the company had a lower advertiser Spend Index in 2018 (37.37 vs 53.97) and less total airings (56,853 vs 70,054) — hence the No. 2 ranking. Otherwise, Telebrands had another banner year and an impressive late surge that moved them from three hits out of first to even by year-end.

Additional congratulations to IdeaVillage for having the highest-ranked campaign of the year: Flawless Legs.


In a late-season surprise, Hutton-Miller has rocketed past all mid-year contenders to grab the crown! Mega-congratulations to John, Peter and the rest of their super-talented group. This is not H-M's first title, but it has been a while. Their last win was in 2015.

Here's the ranking of the top five:

  1. Hutton-Miller (9)
  3. Blue Reef (6)
  5. Paddock (5)
  7. Kerrmercials (5)
  9. Cole (3)

Special kudos to Kerrmercials, which achieved its highest ranking and number of hits to date.


Every feeder last year had a single hit or no hits in the top 50 — except one: Paragon Products.

We ended the year with six hits in the top 50. They are: Bell+Howell TacGlasses (12), Bell+Howell TacVisor (18), Own Zone (27), Bell+Howell TacLight Pro/Elite (31), Bell+Howell TacLight (45) and RoboTwist (50).*


Most of you know my methodology well by now, but here's a quick refresher. First, I only include traditional short-form DRTV campaigns in my analysis. I do not include lead generation or other types of DR campaigns. I also manually exclude brand-only advertisers as I have determined reasonable criteria for doing so. The way I get to this in the AdSphere system is to select the brand classification "Short Form Products." This year, I also included "Retail Products" to capture supplemental retail-support spending by short-form players.

Second, my annual charts are based on the broadcast year. In 2018, that aligned almost perfectly with the calendar year as January 1 was a Monday and December 30 was a Sunday.

Third, I exclude 30s and shorter formats from my analysis as well as formats longer than 120 seconds. That's a long way of saying I only include 120s and 60s in my analysis, which seems to be the best way of capturing a "true" picture of our business.

Finally, this is the first year the True Top 50 includes airings running on both English and Hispanic networks as that is the new default filter setting for AdSphere.

* Disclosure: Paragon Products is a partnership between me and Bill Quarless of Impact Products.

February 27, 2019

Emson Wins Advertiser of the Year

DRMetrix announced the winners of its third annual AdSphere Awards Wednesday. The awards "recognize best-of-class advertisers across four industry classifications including short-form products, lead generation, brand/direct, and 28.5-minute infomercials," according to DRMetrix CEO Joseph Gray.

This year, EMSON (aka E. Mishan & Sons) took home the top award in short form, the coveted "Advertiser of the Year." Congratulations to the Mishan family and the entire Emson team!

For a full list of the awards and their recipients, click here. The official awards presentation will take place at PDMI East in Miami next month.

February 04, 2019

New & True: TacAmplifier

Description: A sound amplifier
Pitch: "Enhanced hearing like you've never experienced before"
Offer: $19.99 for one with free shipping
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Bell+Howell
Starring: Nick Bolton
Marketer: Emson/Paragon
Producer: Paddock
DRMetrix Rank: No. 33*
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Written by yours truly. This is the 10th "TAC" product we have rolled out. Also on the DRMetrix Top 40 this week: TacVisor (#8), TacGlasses (#24) and TacLight Pro (#28).

* Based on weekly monitoring by AdSphere.™ To learn more or to try it for free, click here.

New & True: Legacy Leg Pillow

Description: A knee pillow
Pitch: "Instantly align your spine and help alleviate pain"
Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Head pillow (just pay P&H)
Brand: Contour
Marketer: Contour Products
DRMetrix Rank: No. 14*
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This is Old Gold. The original hit was the Contour Leg Pillow, which was on the JW Annual from 1999 to 2002, peaking at No. 1 in 2000.

* Based on weekly monitoring by AdSphere.™ To learn more or to try it for free, click here.

New & True: Copper Fit Compression Gloves

Description: Copper-infused compression gloves
Pitch: "Support muscles and joints in your wrist, palm and fingers"
Offer: $19.99 with free shipping
Bonus: None
Brand: Copper Fit
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Blue Reef
DRMetrix Rank: No. 5*
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This is a relaunch of this campaign. The original campaign, which rolled out in the summer of last year, featured Jerry Rice.

Telebrands tried a non-sports version of this particular product in March 2014 under the name Copper Hands.

* Based on weekly monitoring by AdSphere.™ To learn more or to try it for free, click here.

January 16, 2019

Lester Wunderman, RIP

Ad Age reports that the "father of direct marketing," Lester Wunderman, died last Wednesday at the ripe old age of 98. He is in the DMA Hall of Fame and the Advertising Hall of Fame.

"Wunderman, who was chairman emeritus and founder of his namesake agency, is credited with innovations like the 1-800 toll-free number and the magazine-subscription card," writes Megan Graham. "[He] was so widely admired and beloved in the direct marketing world that Howard Draft, a famed name in the discipline, says Wunderman was 'the only guy I'd go to work for. One of the great teachers of all time. There was nobody better.'"

Graham's full article features other interesting information and amusing anecdotes about Wunderman. He also wrote a book, updated in 2010, called Being Direct: Making Advertising Pay.