July 24, 2016

The Mid-Year True Top 50

Welcome to the new TRUE TOP 50, brought to you by DRMetrix and The SciMark Report. We begin with the first half of 2016. 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 below to see who we’ve named the ‘best of the best’ for the year to date.

(Click to see the complete chart)


Our first award of 2016 goes to IDEAVILLAGE PRODUCTS CORP. IdeaVillage had the No. 1 and No. 2 biggest spending campaigns of the first half of the year: Copper Fit and MicroTouch Tough Blade. IdeaVillage entered the copper compression garments category with two competitors to beat, yet no other copper brand appears on our top 50 chart. Meanwhile, the Copper Fit brand appears twice in the top 10 and three times in the top 20. Overall, IdeaVillage had six campaigns in the top 50, the most of any marketer.


Our second award of 2016 goes to BLUE REEF PRODUCTIONS, thanks in large part to the same Copper Fit campaigns mentioned above. Blue Reef produced the commercial with the highest Spend Index (Copper Fit Back Pro) and has the most appearances on the top 50 (four). It shares the impressive record cited above: two campaigns in the top 10 and three in the top 20. California-based Blue Reef and its leader, Mark Fanjoy, are relatively new names in the short-form business but quickly made an impression with high production value commercials for IdeaVillage starring legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre.


Our runner-up for top marketer is ALLSTAR PRODUCTS GROUP, with the third highest Spend Index for the period, two campaigns in the top 10 (Roto Clipper, Wonder Wallet) and five campaigns on the top 50 chart in total.

Our runner-up for top producer is PADDOCK PRODUCTIONS. Besides having three campaigns of its own on the charts (Bell+Howell TacLight, $50 Gold Buffalo Coin and Slice Right), the production company is responsible for the behind-the-scenes work of two other campaigns. That also makes Paddock the most diverse operator in the production category as each of those successes is with a different marketer.

One unofficial award also deserves mentioning: the True Top Feeder. “Feeder” is our word for a smaller company that “feeds” hits to the big advertisers /distributors shown on the charts. By our estimation, roughly 20 percent of the top 50 came from feeders this time around. (Since these alliances aren’t always publicized, it can be hard to tell.)

In any case, there’s no doubt this is a growing trend and, based on what our research was able to turn up, our first award for the year in this category should go to LENFEST MEDIA GROUP. Pennsylvania-based Lenfest had two hits on the chart: Roto Clipper (No. 8) with Allstar and Furniture Feet (No. 45) with Ontel.


There are many other interesting things the DRMetrix data can tell us. Here’s something basic yet important: What categories are delivering hits these days. For instance, we observed a noteworthy change in the lighting category, which many have considered a bad category for several years. The first half of 2016 saw three lights make it into the top 50: Emson’s Bell+Howell TacLight (No. 23), Ontel’s EverBrite (No. 26) and Telebrands’ Atomic Beam (No. 50).

Unsurprisingly, one of the most dominant categories was cooking/kitchen with four hits in the top 50 (Gotham Steel Pan, Red Copper Pan, 1 Second Slicer and Slice Right). More surprising were the four DIY items on the chart, including the Flex Seal juggernaut as well as newcomers Rust-Oleum ReColor (No. 13), Lazer Bond (No. 19) and 5 Second Fix (No. 44).

However, some of these categories are misleadingly over-represented because the number of competitive items continues to grow. Earlier we mentioned that IdeaVillage was able to shake two competitors in the copper compression garments category, but others have not been as lucky.

Emson’s Gotham Steel Pan (No. 7) continues to battle Telebrands’ Red Copper Pan (No. 14) for dominance. A similar battle has emerged between the two marketers for flashlight supremacy as Emson’s Bell+Howell TacLight (No. 23) has Telebrands’ Atomic Beam (No. 50) nipping at its heels. Meanwhile, Telebrands’ Lazer Bond (No. 19) faces competition from Ontel’s 5 Second Fix (No. 44), and the marketer only recently broke free of competition in the hose category to stand alone in the top 50 with Pocket Hose Top Brass (No. 20).

One final note: The SciMark Report has always focused on short-form DRTV products, and our awards reflect that bias. However, DRMetrix’s AdSphere service provides comprehensive coverage of all DRTV, including brand, lead-generation and long-form commercials. Some of that data is also presented in the charts that accompany this article.

July 21, 2016

SciMark Report from July Response

My SciMark Report in print for July is now available on the Response Website.

This month, I cover two recent rollouts and one not-so-recent rollout that are highlighted because they demonstrate that visual interest is a key to DRTV success.

Click above to read about: Avento's Rust-Oleum ReColor (produced by Adcomm and starring Beau Rials), Emson's Bell+Howell TacLight (produced by Paddock and written by yours truly) and Jay At Play's Flip-A-Zoo (from the incomparable Hutton-Miller).

Four Powerful Factors Only DR Pros Know

“Leads have four critical factors. What they cost is only one...Until you know all four of those factors, you don’t know anything.”

This quote opens my latest Field Report for the ERA blog. To learn (or be reminded of) the four factors, and read my story illustrating why they are so important, click here.

July 19, 2016

The NEW True Top 50

Big news! I'm teaming up with DRMetrix to create the industry's most accurate scorecard ever published: the new True Top 50.

The need for a "Billboard" chart for DRTV campaigns has always been clear: Marketers, producers, retailers and others need to know what's really working on DRTV so they can be smart about what bets they make. We’ve had such charts since the 1990s, but serious accuracy problems make them unreliable. This issue is what prompted me to introduce the "true" concept in the summer of 2010 using the best third-party data available at that time. Yet the result was still far from perfect.

For example, I quickly had to abandon the idea of ranking campaigns. Because we buy our media at deep discounts that vary by agency and even by hour, rate-card estimates have no shot at being accurate. This is one reason why self-reporting (with all of its problems) became a dominant methodology.

My solution was to present the unranked list of top spenders with which you're familiar. But there are still problems with those charts. With no good way of accounting for 30s and 60s, I have only been able to include 120s in my calculations. I've also had no way to keep track of local airings, which can be a significant portion of DR spending. And so on.

Enter Joseph Gray and DRMetrix. If you haven’t heard the name, you will soon. Smart agencies, advertisers and retail buyers are rapidly signing up for access to the company's AdSphere service. The reason: The data is incredibly accurate, unimpeachable and custom-made for our industry. Using the latest commercial “sniffing” technology, DRMetrix is able to pick up and log every DRTV airing and present that data in highly useful ways. You can see who’s advertising what products where, watch the latest versions of their commercials and study trend data over time. Most exciting for me, I can rank the True Top 50 accurately at last!

Going forward, Joseph and his team will be supplying the data and the charts, and I will be presenting the analysis as well as announcing the True Top Marketer, True Top Producer and other awards for the period in question. We’ll be doing this twice a year, so if you’re in the game, you have two shots at annual glory.

It all kicks off Monday morning right here on the The SciMark Report. Be sure to check your inbox first thing.

July 07, 2016

Recent Rollouts: Star Shower Motion, Gotham Grill

Star Shower Motion

Description: A laser projector
Main Pitch: "Now it's easy to cover any home with brilliant, moving stars"
Main Offer: $49.99 for one
Bonus: Upgrade to red/green dual laser (free), indoor base (free)
Brand: Star Shower
Starring: Joe Fowler, Mindy McCortney
Marketer: Telebrands
Watch the spot

I reviewed this project in December of last year. Since then, Telebrands has redone the commercial and gone all out with two spokespeople and a fun, big-budget opening. Click above to check it out.

Gotham Steel Double Grill

Description: A non-stick cooking surface
Main Pitch: "A grill on one side and griddle on the other"
Main Offer: $29.99 for one
Bonus: Gotham Steel pan (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Gotham Steel
Starring: Graham Elliot
Marketer: Emson
Watch the spot

I missed this one, losing track of the Gotham line extensions after the pan wars heated up. It seems the brand has staked out quite a bit of territory for itself since then and is starting to pull away from the fray.

That said, the Jordan Whitney Greensheet is showing its first two "ties" ever, and one of them is between the Red Copper Pan and the Gotham Steel pan, so we'll see what counter-moves Telebrands makes.

Beau Rials: 'The Closer'

So good, he can even sell ...

Beau Rials, the consummate pitchman and my first choice for a commercial spokesperson, put together this fun Geico commercial on spec.

Be sure to give it lots of "likes" if you want to see it on TV!


July 05, 2016

Erica Meloni, RIP

I opened the most recent issue of Response magazine and learned the sad news that Erica Meloni of Top Dog had passed away back in May. She was only 40 and leaves behind a young daughter, Lily, born in 2008. The obituary is here.

My condolences to her family and the Top Dog family.

In lieu of flowers, they had requested contributions to Lily's education fund. Anyone still wishing to contribute can mail to: Lily Meloni, c/o Bank of America, 503 S. Oxford Valley Road, Fairless Hills, PA 19033.