Mixing It Up

ERA’s 2015 D2C Convention promises to shake up classic direct response strategies for the digital age


Every fall since the National Infomercial Marketing Association (NIMA, later ERA) launched in 1990, the leaders of direct response have convened to network, forge best practices, and make the deals that help their products become household names. And this year’s ERA D2C Convention, set for Oct. 6-8, 2015 at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel, will boast even more of these opportunities.

The media landscape has changed over the last quarter-century, of course, making the 2015 ERA D2C Convention more of a must-attend. Only a few months after NIMA geared up to legitimize a burgeoning industry at its first meetings in Washington, D.C., the World Wide Web went live with its very first site. And as fast as the infomercial industry has grown and as much as it has contributed to the culture in the years since, the Internet has created a true revolution in every aspect of life.

Commerce especially has felt the repercussions of the Internet and the social and mobile media it has helped spawn. People no longer pick up the phone and wait six weeks to get their goods—instead, they order what they want directly, almost always wirelessly, and rarely pay shipping and handling unless they want their orders in two days or less.

Most sales are direct now, and the 2015 ERA D2C Convention, themed “Direct Response Mixology,” will go beyond the industry’s first screen to help marketers find ways to tap new customers and brand champions in the digital, social, and mobile media.

Direct response mixology will go beyond the industry’s first screen to help marketers find ways to tap new customers and brand champions.

Sessions on Track to Teach
A keynote presentation sponsored by Quigley-Simpson will set the stage for the show. Peter Szabo, senior vice president and head of music and ad sales for Shazam, will invite marketers to “Go Beyond the TV Screen: Using Mobile Technology to Reach More Consumers,” and forge real-time engagement.

Another keynote session sponsored by EvTech Media features “The Legends of Direct Response” in a discussion of the industry’s past, present, and future on the occasion of ERA’s 25th Anniversary. Five of the most successful and enduring luminaries in DRTV—Frank Cannella (Cannella Response Television), A.J. Khubani (TeleBrands), Jack Kirby (Havas Edge), Richard Stacey (Northern Response International), and Katie Williams (Ideal Living), join moderator Collette Liantonio (Concepts TV Productions) to speak about the challenges facing DR.

The show’s educational sessions are organized around several learning tracks. On the Data, Media, and Attribution track, scheduled sessions include “What Marketers Should Know About Programmatic TV,” “Building a Better Model for Attribution,” “Big Data’s Secret Sauce,” and “Discover Your True Omnichannel MER.” Additional sessions in the Learning Lounge follow up on the topic with quick takes on mining big data and using it to get results.

The Direct Response Strategies track includes a two-part Direct Response 101, with Asieya Pine (Lockard & Wechsler); Jordan Pine (SciMark Corp.); Sean Fay (Envision Response Group); Patrick Moulton (Moulton Logistics Management); and Rick Petry (Creative Writer, LLC) covering DR “Offline: Concept to Completion” for newcomers to the industry. Part 2, “Online: Your Direct Response E-Commerce and Digital Strategy,” features Ava Seavey (Avalanche Creative Services); Dany Sfeir (ds&a consulting); Michael Rafter (Midwest Center); and Victor Golio (Chief Media).

Strategy sessions in the Learning Lounge will cover multichannel marketing plans; synergies between broadcast, digital, and retail channels; direct response radio; and avoiding “dead air” call center calls. Rounding out the sessions is “Backend Bloopers IV” with Ayal Latz and Debbie Skerly (a2b Fulfillment) and other representatives of the fulfillment field.

The New Channels for New Revenue track includes sessions called “Convergence of Short-Form DRTV & Digital,” “The Evolution of Digital and Audio Media,” “Scale Your Digital Business Without Blowing Your Budget,” and “Using Digital to Make the Cash Register Ring,” plus Learning Lounge talks on, customer communication, and mobile video.

The Social Media track offers topics such as “Leveraging Social Media to Maximize Direct Sales” and “Utilizing Social Media to Generate Leads,” with Learning Lounge sessions on increasing conversions and social analytics. Finally, the Understanding Today’s Consumers track includes a Masters Series session on “How to Use Direct Response to Win at Inbound Marketing,” and short sessions on omnichannel customers, brand engagement, and customer expectations in the digital age.

Members unwind at a happy hour reception.

Getting Social on the Show Floor
While attendees and ERA committee members will be meeting throughout the day, the D2C Convention officially launches on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 6, with a 25th Anniversary Celebration at Surrender Nightclub inside the Wynn Las Vegas. A Wild Wednesday Party follows on the next night, and the Moxie Mixer invites mingling ahead of the Moxie Awards Gala on Thursday, Oct. 8.

The show floor opens on Wednesday, Oct. 7, offering dozens of exhibitors, the Women in Business Pavilion, and the InventHelp/INPEX-sponsored New Product Showcase. An annual highlight of the D2C Convention, the New Product Showcase will introduce up to 30 inventor hopefuls, who will compete to have their products pitched by professional pitchpersons and perhaps see their products on TV.

Multiple areas on the floor and in the hotel will be dedicated to meeting and networking throughout the show, including catered networking luncheons on the exhibit floor, the Meet & Greet Lounge, and the ERA Circle Bar on the Wynn’s Sunset Terrace.

And a D2C show wouldn’t be the same without the star-studded Moxie Awards Gala, DRTV’s most exciting event of the year. Naming the year’s best campaigns (see “Moxies Recognize the Best” sidebar, page 30), this year’s Moxies will present A.J. Khubani, founder and CEO of TeleBrands, with the 2015 ERA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Khubani famously founded TeleBrands Corp. in 1983 during his senior year of college with his life savings, $20,000. Today, TeleBrands boasts more than $1 billion a year in retail sales, and has introduced seminal DR products such as the PedEgg, Hurricane Spin Mop, Pocket Hose, and many more.

Khubani is credited with designing the familiar red “As Seen on TV” logo for the retail packaging of TeleBrands’ first product, Ambervision sunglasses. Soon after, TeleBrands was instrumental in defining As Seen On TV as a distinct category for retail buyers.

In 2013, ERA named TeleBrands Marketer of the Year. Khubani is also a member of the Foundation for Free Enterprise’s Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Advertising Hall of Fame, and the National Direct Response Marketing Association Hall of Fame.

Khubani joins an illustrious group of past ERA Lifetime Achievement Award honorees: Collette Liantonio, Jeffrey Knowles, Kevin Harrington, Katie Williams, Billy Mays, Earl Greenburg, Rob Woodrooffe, Tim Hawthorne, Greg Renker, Joe Segal, Suzanne Somers, Mike Levey, and Ron Popeil.

Emmy-winning television personality, entrepreneur, author, and humanitarian Leeza Gibbons will also appear at the Moxies to accept ERA’s 2015 DR Icon Award. This award honors an person whose talent and brand have helped shape direct response marketing.

The Think Tank on the show floor hosts one of many educational sessions designed to help marketers improve ROI.

Gibbons launched the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation to provide family caregivers with services and support after seeing her mother and grandmother struggle with Alzheimer’s. She has had long and influential career in DR as the spokesperson for Guthy-Renker, LLC’s Sheer Cover cosmetics brand. Past recipients of the DR Icon Award include Susan Lucci (2014), Montel Williams (2012), and Jack LaLanne (2011).

Once again, ERA will hand out the ERA Marketer of the Year Award. This coveted award recognizes an organization that has clearly shown outstanding success in the DR industry over the past year. The 2015 nominees are Oak Lawn Marketing Group, Shark Ninja (Euro-Pro), and Tristar Products, Inc.

Finally, the inaugural Mercury Wing Award, presented by Mercury Media, will showcase excellence among up-and-coming DR marketers and suppliers.

But wait, there’s more! Visit to find out everything ERA has planned for the 2015 D2C Convention in its 25th Anniversary year. The show is set to be the most essential event ever produced in ERA’s long history in helping help guarantee DRTV’s livelihood for years to come—and it’s always a lot of fun.

Moxies Recognize the Best

Naming the best campaigns and marketers of the year, the 2015 Moxie Awards Gala will reveal the winners on Oct. 8, closing out the ERA D2C Convention at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel. Direct response marketers and agencies have been nominated in more than 30 categories; here are just a few of the major awards set to be named and the companies behind them.

Best Long Form of the Year, Direct Response
IT Cosmetics. Guthy-Renker, LLC, Caudill & Associates
P90X3. Beachbody, LLC, HAVAS Edge
The Shark Powered LiftAway. Script to Screen, Euro-Pro Operating, LLC, Mercury Media

Best Short Form of the Year, Direct Response
Proactiv Plus: Personal Adam. Guthy-Renker, LLC, Lieberman Productions
Swifty Sharp. Hampton Direct, Inc.,
Opfer Communications, Lockard & Wechsler Direct, Digital Target Marketing
There’s a Better Way with Jillian Michaels and NordicTrack. The Magnificent 7 (M7 Labs), Gary Pilla

Best Long Form of the Year, Brand Response
#OmahaSteaksNight. Script to Screen, Omaha Steaks, Inc., Media Design Group
CTCA-Cancer Chronicles. HAVAS Edge, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Waterpik Water Flosser. Waterpik, Mercury Media, GoConvergence

Best Short Form of the Year, Brand Response
Christian Mingle: United in Faith. R2C Group
Tide HE Turbo. Quigley-Simpson, The Procter & Gamble Company
Waterpik Water Flosser. Waterpik, Mercury Media, Go Convergence

Best Digital Marketing Campaign
Anything is Possible: The Man, The Movement and The Legacy. Tristar Products, Inc., Keith Mirchandani, Josef Lavi, Lucille Dehart, Norah Alberto, Pop Works, Inc.
Barton Publishing Diabetes Solution Kit with Governor Mike Huckabee. Result Advertising, Inc., Barton Publishing, Inc.
HMR—Healthy Solutions at Home. Result HMR/Merck, HMR—Healthy Solutions, Sincbox,
Mercury Media

Best DR Radio Campaign
Barton Publishing Diabetes Solution Kit with Gov. Mike Huckabee. Result Advertising, Inc., Barton Publishing, Inc.
Life Changing Message. Somnetics International, Marketing Architects
Proactiv: I Think You’re Beautiful. Guthy-Renker, LLC

Best DR Website Design
Generac. HAVAS Edge, Generac
Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED. GAIAM, Launch DRTV, HAVAS Edge, Empowered Media
Omaha Steaks. M2 Marketing and Management, Script to Screen

Best Female Presenter
Jamie Kern for IT Cosmetics. Guthy-Renker, LLC, Caudill & Associates
There’s a Better Way with Jillian Michaels and Nordictrack. The Magnificent 7 (M7 Labs), Gary Pilla
Waterpik Water Flosser. Waterpik, Mercury Media, GoConvergence

Best Male Presenter
Chaz Dean for WEN 4. Guthy-Renker, LLC, Caudill & Associates
John Abdo for Wonderflex Pillow. Greenberg Direct, Inc., Paul Greenberg
Pocket Hose Top Brass. TeleBrands, Inc., Kerrmercials

Best Product Expert
Akos Jankura, TMGTV, Inc.
Jamie Kern for IT Cosmetics. Guthy-Renker, LLC, Caudill & Associates
Maria McCool for Perfecter Ultra. Tristar Products, Inc., Script to Screen, Cannella Response Television

Best U.S. Hispanic Campaign
BodyLab by Jennifer Lopez. Basic Research,
Launch DRTV
Murad Resurgence Hispanic. Murad, Hyphen Studios, Mercury Media
WellPoint: True or False. R2C Group

Best Long Form, People’s Choice
#OmahaSteaksNight. Script to Screen, Omaha Steaks Inc., Media Design Group
21 Day Fix. Beachbody, LLC, Bluewater Digital
Ronco Ready Grill. Bluewater Media, Ronco, Bluewater Digital

Best Short Form, People’s Choice
Butter Express. Bluewater Media, Spark Innovators, Lockard & Wechsler
DraftKings-Training Camp. HAVAS Edge, DraftKings
VIP Singles. Two-D Productions, Instinct Marketing

Marketer of the Year
Marketer of the Year recognizes a company that has displayed outstanding success in direct response over the last year. Past winners include Guthy-Renker, LLC, TeleBrands, Hampton Direct, and Beachbody, LLC. The nominees for the 2015 Marketer of the Year Award are:

Oak Lawn Marketing Group
Oak Lawn leads in Japan, the world’s second-largest DR marketplace. Oak Lawn’s consumer-facing brand, Shop Japan, launches and markets new products that help enrich Japanese consumers’ lives, using more than 130 hours of television airtime per day to turn products into household brand names. Oak Lawn’s omnichannel strategy encompasses television, online, print, retail, continuity, and CRM channels to deliver a seamless customer experience.

Shark Ninja (Euro-Pro)
Shark Ninja (formerly Euro-Pro) has continued its impressive growth with the successful introduction of the Shark Powered Liftaway Vacuum and the Nutri Ninja Duo. The TV introduction and retail success of these two products has powered double-digit growth for Shark Ninja, which now claims annual sales of more than $1.5 billion. JD Power recently named Shark the best brand in the nation for customer satisfaction, and QVC honored the company as Supplier of the Year.

Tristar Products, Inc.
Tristar Products, Inc. has brought top products to market and developed global brands for more than 20 years. Tristar has led the marketplace with the No. 1 Pressure Cooker and the No. 1 seamless bra for three years, while dominating the juicing category for more than 10. The company’s business model incorporates social, digital, and entertainment content into a 360-degree direct response approach, and recently had its Jack LaLanne documentary, Anything is Possible, accepted into the Palm Beach Film Festival.

For a complete list of this year’s Moxie nominees, visit It’s not too late to get tickets to the awards gala—visit for more information.