Collette Liantonio’s Latest Article For Response Magazine

Repair Rather Than Replace

Housewares products hit the right note in tough times

by Collette Liantonio,                                                                   from the March issue of Response Magazine




Since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, DR agencies have been faced with one tough question that overrides all others for their clients: How can a consumer justify a purchase when he or she is barely holding on to a job or a home?

It’s not easy. When DRTV commercial producers create a spot or long-form infomercial, defining the true value of a product is crucial to the sale. Getting the consumer to grasp that he or she is, in fact, getting a great deal for a great product is tougher than ever. One needs to look no further than the explosion of ‚“buy one, get one free” offers being used to prompt consumer action.

Consumers can’t afford to replace major household products when money is tight. The need for home improvement doesn’t go away. It just means consumers have to look in another direction.

Perhaps that’s why the housewares space continues to be very good to DR marketers. Rather than replacing worn out items, or spending thousands on home improvement projects that were all the rage in the home equity heyday of 10 years ago, consumers are now looking for low-cost replacements until the economy turns around.

Three products from Hampton Direct have had great success — Twin Draft Guard, Wonder Hanger and Furniture Fix. In each case, the product was built for DRTV demonstration. Each was a simple, inexpensive solution rather than an expensive replacement.

Consumers on a budget simply felt more comfortable utilizing a quality product like Twin Draft Guard, rather than contracting out for a complete weather-stripping job on their homes. By using Wonder Hangers, they also were able to find a simple and easy way to expand their closet space, without knocking out walls to rebuild their closets. And rather than shelling out $1,000 for a new living room set, they were able to easily repair sagging chairs and couches with Furniture Fix.

While each of these products hit a sweet spot during the Great Recession, they still required an eye for the production capabilities particular to direct response marketing. Any successful DRTV campaign is built around amazing product demonstrations that cut through the clutter of a crowded television landscape and turn ever-skeptical consumers into customers.

In the Furniture Fix spot, sumo wrestlers weighing a combined 1,000 pounds sit together on a couch using Furniture Fix to emphasize the product’s strength. In the Wonder Hanger spot, the product supports a 20-pound weight. The difference that proper creative development can make to allow your campaign to cut through the clutter is immeasurable. At the same time, it’s crucial that your producer knows the leaders in the DR space to connect you to other capable vendors. If your producer doesn’t have a complete DRTV network, beware.

Still, the ultimate key is that the right DRTV production agency can help you find the right message to reach the right consumer. And with the right producer ‚Äî one that understands your product, whether it falls into the housewares vertical or beauty or fitness ‚Äî your product stands a much better chance of finding its way into consumers’ homes, even in a difficult economy.