April 28, 2022

Industry News: iSpot Will Become a Unicorn

In the world of venture capital, a startup that hits a $1 billion valuation is known as a "unicorn." iSpot.tv is now poised to achieve that mythical status thanks to an upcoming $325 million investment from global investment giant Goldman Sachs.

“As we enter our second decade, the investment and support from Goldman Sachs will help fuel the next generation of innovations and accelerate our ability to be the trusted cross-screen currency of choice,” iSpot CEO Sean Muller said in the press release announcing the deal. "I couldn't be prouder of our 350 passionate iSpotters who bring it each and every day," he added in a companion LinkedIn post.

iSpot is on a roll. Last year, it acquired Joseph Gray’s DRMetrix and gained unique, real-time measurement capabilities. Last month, it became the first measurement company certified by NBCUniversal for use as "currency" in the purchasing of national advertising campaigns. WarnerMedia and IPG Mediabrands are also working with the firm on this front.

For these reasons, iSpot is widely viewed as a growing threat to competitor Nielsen, which has been the gold standard for TV ad measurement. That must be especially exciting for Muller, Gray and the rest of the iSpot team since Nielsen recently sold for 16 unicorns.

March 08, 2022

New & True: Mighty Interesting

A DR classic! (and note the socks)

Before you get too excited about that headline, it's mostly a play on words. In point of fact, not much of interest happened last month. Just another episode of Brands Gone Wild. (It’s not nearly as stimulating as the 'girls' version, but there’s a much lower chance of being thrown in jail.)

Looking over the DRMetrix reports, only two campaigns really jumped out at me. Both come from a marketer who is not one of the Big 5. Both also feature items from categories on my 'don't even bother' list. So that’s what I found interesting. Here's the rundown...

Mighty Thirsty Mop (Top Dog/Hutton-Miller). DRMetrix says this campaign has been airing for months, but this is the first time I've seen it remain at the top of the charts. The commercial stars Jon Florell and features some classic DR mop demos, including the 'over the head' demo (shown above) to prove it doesn't leak. I also like the subtle touch of having Florell wear white socks (that never get dirty) as he does all the demos. There's a reason Hutton-Miller is the undisputed True Top Producer, folks. They think of everything, including the little things only a true aficionado would appreciate. (Like how that compliment somehow boomeranged back to me?)

Nuzzle (Top Dog/Hutton-Miller). There’s so much to like about this creative, but I’ll start with something that may seem minor: I love the voice-over artist. His read is modern and upbeat, hitting all the right notes for these social-media dominant times. Then there's the true brilliance of the problem opening. As someone who has scripted more than his fair share of commercials, I can tell you it was no easy task to come up with something original. Most wouldn't have bothered to try. I mean, this has to be the 349th opening to a sleep-product commercial in DR history, so there are plenty of ideas out there to "borrow." But that's not H-M's style. They put in the work and created something funny and fresh. Bravo!

That impressive creativity mostly makes up for the uninspired "NASA-inspired pillow" line, which is too close to that old groaner "Space Age" for my liking. (For years, I was on a mission to eradicate the phrase from all DRTV marketing. See here, here and here. Heck, H-M even once joined me in the crusade.) At least in this variation, there’s a clever tie-in to the promise: "nano-coil fibers" create a pillow that "pushes against gravity" for a "feeling of plush weightlessness." Nice save.

You'll notice I haven't said much about the products. Did I mention I'm not a fan of mops or pillows? Mops have been on my 'bad categories' list for years. All of floor-care looks like a vast wasteland from the perspective of a DR historian. There are occasional hits to be sure, but oh-so-many failures! At least Top Dog is working in an area where it has had some success before. (It was part of the second successful run of Smart Mop back in 2008-2009.) This mop is also reminiscent of Telebrands' One Sweep, which had two rollouts: once in 1999-2000 and once in 2004-2005. Old Gold for the win again.

As for pillows, I think of them like nonstick pans: There's a lot of potential if you can break through, but good luck trying to guess what pitch is going to do the trick. The only good news is that no one has built an insurmountable lead in pillows like Emson has built in pans. Contour was trying, but this Top Dog success proves that it's anyone's game. Or no one's.

March 02, 2022

Industry News: Copper Fit, Emson Win 2021 AdSphere Awards

DRMetrix has announced the winners of its sixth annual AdSphere Awards. In the short-form category, IdeaVillage's COPPER FIT won Brand of the Year again, this time for its Copper Fit Never Lost Face Mask campaign.

Meanwhile, on the heels of being named your 2021 True Top Marketer, EMSON won Advertiser of the Year. This is the company's fourth year in a row.

Congratulations to the winners!

The awards presentation will take place next month at PDMI EAST 2022 in Miami Beach.

Click here for more information on the AdSphere Awards.

February 16, 2022

Breaking News: He's Baaack!

A special announcement from Vince Offer.

In the coming weeks, I'll have more information about his new show. Until then, here's the trailer.

February 14, 2022

NEW New & True

I don't know about you, but I'm kinda bored of the features from last year. For instance, when it comes to the monthly True Top 10, it feels a lot like what fellow New Jerseyan Bon Jovi said: "It's all the same. Only the names have changed."

As a result, I've decided to stop publishing that particular ranking. We'll all keep score and high-five once a year when I post the True Top 50, OK?

The other feature I used to do last year was called "New & True." If you recall, it was a post about one new campaign that had made it to the top of the charts. I thought it was informative, but the concept needs a little refreshing.

And so, I propose a new "New & True." Since you guys seem to like lists, it will start with a list like this one:

  1. Copper Fit Arch Relief (IdeaVillage/Blue Reef)

  2. Sharper Image Calming Heat Neck Wrap

  3. Handy Heater Turbo Heat (Ontel)

  4. GraniteStone Emerald Green (Emson/Hutton-Miller)

This is a list of every noteworthy new campaign that made it onto the DRMetrix report in recent weeks. The links go to the commercial on iSpot.tv in case you aren't familiar with the item and want to see what it's all about. The names in parantheses are self-explanatory and designed to keep you informed about who's doing what. I won't always know who to credit, but I'll do my best and update these posts when people email me missing information (so check back if you're interested).

Finally, I plan to continue adding informative and entertaining commentary when I have something to share. To wit:

1. Copper Fit projects are going straight to rollout these days. There does not appear to be a typical DRTV testing period, which means IdeaVillage is likely working toward a different goal. By the way, this is the 28th Copper Fit-branded product I've logged since the brand launched in 2014.

2. Speaking of building brands, the Calming Heat Neck Wrap was the eighth entry under that brand when it first tested last spring. (Since then, I've logged two more.) Given that it has almost been a year, Allstar is obviously taking a more traditional approach and fully testing and developing Calming Heat items before rolling them out.

3. It's much the same story with Handy Heater, although here the strategy appears to be a very traditional 'new and improved' one. Turbo Heat is the third version Ontel has put out since launching the original unit (No. 46 on the 2016 True Top 50). If there's a line strategy, it's not a brand strategy (yet). That is, Ontel solved the seasonality limitation with Arctic Air for the warm months, but I haven't seen any attempts yet to roll up both lines under a 'mini HVAC' umbrella brand. Instead, Ontel appears to be extending the Arctic Air brand to other products, such as the Brella Shield (No. 40 on the 2021 True Top 50).

4. Sick of line and brand extensions yet? Too bad. Emson apparently wants to own every color in the spectrum and every material you could possibly use for a nonstick pan. If someone without a huge, successful line of pans tried to do this, we'd laugh. But Emson has so much brand awareness that introducing aqua blues and emerald greens seems like a pretty good idea.

I think back to my strong opinions when Gotham Steel launched so soon after Telebrands' Orgreenic had dominated the shelves and the airways. It's way too early, I thought. There's no way the market is ready for another line of nonstick pans. Well, since then, Emson has succesfully rolled out a bajillion new pans with no end in sight. I mean, these guys could probably even sell people on a pan made from volcanoes! Oh wait.