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.

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