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Still Looking for Great Solutions-March 2013 Response Magazine

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By Collette Liantonio

Still Looking for Great Solutions
Consumers who got used to saving during the recession are still
looking for simple value from their housewares products

 
As the economy has steadily improved in
recent months, one thing hasn’t changed —
consumer demand for housewares products
that provide high-quality, simple solutions at
a value price. While this has long been the case, consumers’
desires for the best possible buy ratcheted up during
the Great Recession that began in 2008. And, even
though today they may no longer be facing a job downsizing
or housing foreclosure, they learned that finding that
kind of product is still desirable.
No one is better at defining that kind of value in the
housewares space than DRTV marketers. As a DRTV
production company, we are constantly driven by our
marketer clients — and our own knowledge of what truly
makes consumers buy — to define the true value of each
product. Nothing is more crucial
to getting consumers to pick up the
phone, open their Web browser or
head to their closest big box outlet.
Two of our earliest DRTV hit
products were housewares products
that became industry legends — the
Contour Pillow and the Smart Mop.
Both products were top quality.
They both made life easier around
the house. And both were great values
for the consumer.
Fast forward to today: many consumers
are beginning to find their
checkbooks balancing with a higher
total in the register at the end of
the month. Yet, they’ve also discovered during the rough
times in the recent past that they can get great products
that solve household problems at better prices. There’s
no need to begin spending big dollars for problem-solving
products.

 

 
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Mr. Lid is one recent DRTV hit in the
housewares space to capitalize on
consumers’ perceived value.

 
Take a product like the recent hit Mr. Lid, a patented kitchen-storage container
with an attached
lid. The product is
featured in 60-second,
two-minute, and fiveminute
spots starring
today’s top DRTV
pitchman, Marc Gill. “The key to the product was illustrating
the unique benefits of having an attached lid
on our container. But a value-based piece count of 20 for
only $19.95 put the sale over the top. The reaction of
consumers to Mr. Lid has been simply tremendous,” says
Chris Rebholz, CEO of Norman Direct.
Another recent winner in the DRTV housewares
space is Café Cup, a reusable coffee cup that takes the
place of single-serve coffee pods for popular coffee making
machines. “We are thrilled with Café Cup’s TV and
retail programs,” says Bob Khubani, vice president of
marketing at Spark Innovators. “It is by far the top item
in Spark Innovators’ history. This success is mostly attributed
to the highly effective TV spot and media campaign
which are driving sales at retail.”
The key selling feature was the
comparison to the expense of the competition
pods. Again, it is the value
proposition that convinced the consumer
to buy.
In the case of both Mr. Lid and Café
Cup, the product was built for DRTV
demonstration. Each was a simple solution
at a great price. While consumers
now have more budget, they know they
can stay on that budget — and perhaps
give themselves a nice night out — by
finding the types of housewares solutions
offered by DRTV marketers.
While each of these products found
a sweet spot on the housewares chain,
the capabilities offered by a top-notch production house
in the direct response space have been crucial to their
success. Any successful DRTV campaign is built around
amazing product demonstrations that cut through the
clutter of a crowded television landscape and turn everskeptical
consumers into customers. But not only must
your production partner understand what works on camera
— they also must have a network of leaders in the
DR space to connect you to other capable vendors.
With the right producer — one that understands your
product, its competitive set and its visual advantages —
your product stands a much better chance finding a home
with those value-conscious consumers. ■

To read the full article, please visit: http://www.response-digital.com/response/201303#pg55

 

 
Collette Liantonio is president of
Concepts TV Productions, a full-service
production agency based in Boonton, N.J.
She can be reached at (973) 331-1500 or
via E-mail at collette@conceptstv.com.

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The Calm After the Storm

The Calm After the Storm

Concepts TV meets deadlines in spite of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction

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The sky was orange, and the wind howled. Above toppled power lines, neon splashes of color appeared like misplaced fireworks amid torrents of rain. Pop, pop! There goes another transformer.

 

More than 8.5 million people lost power in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Homes went unheated, and gas stations couldn’t pump gas. Schools closed, and hospitals were evacuated. Businesses were literally in the dark. Early estimates predict $20 billion in lost business between the structural damage, power outages, and interruptions to business. After Katrina, Sandy will likely be the most costly storm in U.S. history.

 

Once power was restored, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced, the state would rebuild. But area business owners like Collette Liantonio, CEO of Boonton, N.J.-based Concepts TV, couldn’t wait that long. Deadlines had been set; she didn’t want to disappoint clients in the increasingly just-in-time world of infomercial marketing.

 

With the company modeled after theater production companies, most of Liantonio’s employees were used to working together closely. After establishing that the team was safe, Liantonio offered her home—partially powered by a natural gas generator—as shelter to her extended Concepts family. Spouses, children, and even nannies were welcome to take advantage of the physical and interpersonal warmth so many suddenly lacked.

After Katrina, Sandy will likely be the most costly storm in U.S. history.

With gasoline in short supply, Liantonio asked only a few employees to meet at the office to assess the damage and brainstorm the next steps for the company. The office was structurally sound, but the power was out indefinitely—making the company’s editing suites , phone lines, and servers inoperable. Documents and company emails were inaccessible.

The company contacted clients using backup, hard-copy contact sheets. Then, work was delegated to the rest of the staff via text message. Creatives in makeshift home offices relied on pen and paper, while administrators focused on logistics. Generators were brought in to power up edit suites. Cell-phone hotspots were created for Wi-Fi access. Battery-powered laptops were set up. And the company conference room was transformed temporarily into a roundtable workstation, similar to a newsroom bullpen.

 

In one week’s time, most of the Concepts staff was able to return to the office, with multiple Plan Bs in hand. They contacted clients again, this time with revised production schedules, adjusted office hours, and rescheduled shoots. Editing schedules changed, but deadlines did not. And to the surprise and delight of clients across the country, projects stayed on course.

 

Liantonio credits her staff’s ingenuity, tireless work ethic, and unfaltering teamwork with saving the day. She’s quick to point out that the sense of camaraderie also extends to her clients, who were gracious and understanding. One Wisconsin-based client remarked, “We’re with you for the long haul. If you need anything, let us know.”

 

As Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Concepts TV family—staff, clients, and vendors—found out how true those words can be.

To read more about this article, please visit: http://www.electronicretailermag.com/2013/03/the-calm-after-the-storm/