July 17, 2017

Trumpy Bear?!

Description: A teddy bear that resembles President Trump
Main Pitch: "Don't miss out on owning a piece of American history"
Main Offer: 2 pay of $19.95
Bonus: American flag banket (inside)
Watch the spot

Either this is the most elaborate Jimmy Kimmel prank ever ... or someone has a very cynical view of Trump supporters and/or DRTV buyers.

Of course this could end up being one of those 'so bad, it's good' items that you must own for the hilarious novelty of it all.

I should also add -- and I can't believe I'm about to write this -- there is an historical precedent here. President Trump's favorite president is Andrew Jackson, but others have compared him to Teddy Roosevelt. And guess how the teddy bear got its name?

True story.

July 16, 2017

But is it really "true"?

This past Friday, we released the Mid-Year 2017 True Top 50. Such releases often generate questions and sometimes protests. I welcome them all. The "true" label is not meant to be marketing. It's a standard we are trying our best to meet.

Most of the questions I get can be summarized by the title of this post. As an example, someone recently asked me about the fact DRMetrix logs and includes all formats -- 30s, 60s, 120s, 5-minute and more -- in its database. The argument is against including anything but 120s in the True Top 50 because those not starting with or maintaining a 120 base are probably not managing their campaigns to a CPO. At least, they are not managing to a "working" CPO (whatever that means).

Fair point. Since no one ever reports on bottom-line campaign profitability or talks about the projects that end badly at retail, the real "top" marketers are the ones who can reliably find the most projects with sustainable consumer demand that deliver solid profit margins.

On the other hand, it's not clear that 120 spending is a reliable way of measuring that sort of thing, either. It's also safe to assume no one is spending Top 50-type money on losers, so campaigns ranked in the all-inclusive methodology must ultimately be some form of hit.

In any case, the question piqued my curiosity, so I decided to dig into the AdSphere system and look at 120s only. In the analysis below, I look at it two ways: by advertiser and by campaign. The former method will let us see who spent the most on 120s in the first half of 2017, and the latter will tell us who has the most hits in a top-50 ranking when campaigns with less/no CPO sensitivity are removed.


Below is how the "Big Five" stack up when you look at 120-spending only, ranked from most spending to least. (The number in parentheses is the rounded Spend Index.)

  1. IdeaVillage (100)
  3. Telebrands (90)
  5. Emson (58)
  7. Ontel (51)
  9. Allstar (35)

IdeaVillage (your True Top Marketer) is at 100 because they spent the most of any Short Form Product advertiser on 120s for the period, even beating out Proactiv (63), one of the industry's biggest spenders.

By the way, I pulled this out of AdSphere in about five minutes. It's a truly awesome and user-friendly tool for this kind of analysis, and anyone not using it is really missing out on a whole new level of competitive research and campaign management ... OK, end of plug!


Next, I ran the report by campaign and counted up how many hits each of the Big Five had in the top 50. Here's how that looks:

  1. IdeaVillage (9)
  3. Telebrands (9)
  5. Emson (8)
  7. Ontel (7)
  9. Allstar (3)

(I created a chart in my old format that shows the full ranking, which you can view here.)

IdeaVillage stays on top again with nine hits. While it lost a Copper Fit campaign in the re-ranking, it picked up an extension of one of its other brands: Finishing Touch.

That said, Telebrands ties with IdeaVillage for most hits on the new chart. Telebrands was the second biggest gainer in the reshuffling, adding Climb Cart and Zapp Light to its total.

Emson stays at eight hits, also losing one (Brooklyn Brownie Copper) but gaining one (Gotham Steel Double Grill).

Ontel was the biggest gainer, more than doubling its total from the overall chart to the 120-only chart. The marketer added four hits: HurriClean, EverBrite, Turbo Scrub and Miracle Bamboo Bra.

Finally, Allstar gains one -- Boom Touch -- which also means Paragon (your True Top Feeder) gains one, bringing our total to four hits for the first half.


So there you have it: Any way you slice it, the rankings for the first half look pretty much the same with only Telebrands improving enough to make a claim for a higher slot.

Ironically, that claim would pit the marketer against Emson, its arch-rival in no less than three battles currently on the True Top 50.

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.