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Packing in the Sales in Response Magazine

The world of consumer packaged goods (CPG) today is a broad swath of old brands being reborn, new campaigns and products full of profitable promise, and even plenty of body parts (yes, you read that right).

By: Doug McPherson

 

Long before the mammoth direct response consumer packaged good (CPG) product OxiClean, there was Jelmar, a company Manny Gutterman started in the late 1960s.

Today Jelmar offers a large suite of cleaning products. But long before he opened Jelmar, Gutterman created a national sales representative organization, Manny Gutterman & Associates Inc., in 1949 to sell all kinds of proprietary CPG products to chain drug, variety, hardware and department stores.

The sales channel was so successful, it gave Gutterman the direction and confidence to develop and sell his own brand-name products. And in the late 1960s, when a friend in advertising asked Gutterman to sell a warehouse full of cleaning products, he created Jelmar to do it.

Gutterman, along with sons Steven and Arthur, reformulated and repackaged the abandoned product and sold it as Tarn-X®. As one of the first products that used the phrase “As Seen On TV” in commercials and on packaging, Tarn-X eventually became the No. 1-selling metal cleaner in the United States, as well as a household staple that can be found in every major retailer.

Jelmar kept growing, and in the 1980s, Gutterman and his sons, along with business partner, Al Eicoff, began looking for a complement to Tarn-X. They ended up with a powerful lime and rust remover — CLR® (calcium, lime and rust) was born.

Over the years Jelmar continued to introduce products including Thermal Fork, Tarn-X Silver Polish, Tarn-X Jewelry Cleaner, CLR Outdoor Furniture Cleaner, CLR Grease Magnet, CLR Power Plumber, CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner, and most recently, the new CLR Stainless Steel Cleaner and CLR Stone Cleaner.

Today, Jelmar remains in family hands. Arthur’s daughter, Alison Gutterman, became the president of Jelmar in 2007.

And she attributes much of the company’s sales success to direct response.

“We’ve created numerous spots over the years for the CLR line,” Gutterman says. “The DRTV approach not only helped promote CLR’s full line of products in a single spot, but it helped increase the products’ retail distribution and shelf space and drove retail sales, too.”

In fact, Jelmar has parlayed its success from consumer circles to commercial sales.

“Now we have an industrial division and sell products up to 55-gallon drums,” Gutterman says. “I’m sure that some of our success in that division is a result of people knowing our products from home use, and transferring them to a commercial use.”

A Perfect Fit: DR and CPG
Today the company Al Eicoff started back in 1959, A. Eicoff & Co., is a thriving DR agency in Chicago. And it’s still working with Jelmar. Bill McCabe, A. Eicoff & Co. president, says the story of Jelmar is a great example of why DR and CPG are a perfect fit.

“DR is a good sales vehicle for many reasons. We know it can both build a brand and generate results simultaneously — and when I say results, that includes coupon redemptions, website visits and sales along with store traffic and sales,” McCabe says. “But an often overlooked advantage of DRTV for CPG is its ability to differentiate the product from others via longer-length commercials — one-to-two-minute spots. These spots cut through the clutter of 30-second spots and the additional time allows the spot to tell a more compelling and more memorable story.”

McCabe says he created two-minute commercials for Breathe Right nasal strips that he tested three times in five markets.

“With each test, the results were terrific. The client told us they asked us to run a third test because after the first two, no one could believe how great the results were,” McCabe says. “The demonstrability of the product lent itself to DRTV, there was a motivating story to tell and the longer-length commercial helped differentiate the product.”

So what’s different about CPG compared to other categories that might make it a good candidate for DR? McCabe says one of his clients put it best “when he told me that when consumers see their product in the store, there’s no way they can learn the story behind the product by just looking at the packaging.”

McCabe says DR gives them the both the opportunity and the time to tell their story so that when shoppers see the product in the store, they’re pre-sold.

“The best CPG products for direct response have a story to tell,” McCabe says. “In many instances, these are relatively complex products — technology to explain, features to demonstrate, benefits that may not be obvious but are meaningful to consumers. These stories can’t be told in 30 seconds, and they can’t be told effectively without DRTV’s ability to demonstrate and motivate.”

In fact, McCabe believes CPG brands can often go it alone in DR without branding ads.

He says, “A brand can stand alone because DRTV has become highly brand conscious as more and more blue chip companies include DRTV in their marketing mix (see sidebar, page 32). The best direct response advertisers and agencies know how to blend branding and response-producing elements seamlessly.”

Veterans’ Varied Vivid Examples
It’s tough to argue with McCabe’s take on the power of DR in CPG. Today there’s a huge selection of CPG products using DR to boost bottom lines. And there’s plenty of proof of some serious staying power.

Industry veterans have vivid examples.

Bill McAlister, president at Top Dog Direct, says Urine Gone — the pet stain and odor remover — is one of his oldest, most successful products. “It’s been around the longest, about nine years, and I think it’s a good example of a consumer packaged good that just keeps selling,” McAlister says.

It’s sold in 24 oz. bottles with a black light that helps consumers detects stains.

“We get a lot of return customers — we’re selling refill jugs (a 48 oz. refill jug sells for $25.49 on Amazon.com and has a four-star rating from 110 reviews) and people are buying it over and over again,” McAlister says. “It’s outselling other products three to one. And we’re all over in retail — Walmart, Target, everywhere.”

Infusion Brands Intl. — the company behind AsSeenonTV.com, Ronco, DualTools and other brands — may have found a CPG winner in DOC C

loths. The company reports it has sold more than million on TV — and counting.

DOC Cloths include eight layers of woven wood pulp fiber and trap and release 99.99 percent of germs and bacteria when rinsed in warm water. Infusion Brands is selling the product on HSN.

A.J. Khubani, CEO and president at DR giant TELEBrands, says in the CPG category, things don’t get much better than Heeltastic, a cream that softens rough heels.

“It’s been selling about a million units a year since 2009, and the sales are very consistent month to month,” Khubani says. “For Heeltastic, there was a true void in the marketplace. There was no good product for cracked heels.”

He says short-form DR helped create a memorable brand. “We came in and we built recognition. Now we’re in all the major retailers. It’s such a good product that brand loyalty followed,” Khubani contends.

He adds that in the CPG category, marketers typically sell more product in the first year. But Heeltastic has maintained a healthy momentum. “We’re very pleased with 1 million units a year and we also know word of mouth is good,” Khubani says.

Collette Liantonio, president of Concepts TV Productions, jokes about something Khubani told her once. “He called me a body-part specialist because I have something like seven successful ads running right now that help consumers with different body parts,” Liantonio says.

Indeed, Khubani has a point. Liantonio has products covering — quite literally — from head to toe, from Gray Away for those battling ever-growing stands of silver hair to Miracle Socks for aching legs and feet.

“I laughed when he said that — it sounds a little gruesome,” Liantonio says. “But not all the products are about the Baby Boomers. A lot of the products come down to being an affordable way to deal with pain, they’re health aids — and it’s a very exciting time for these kinds of products.”

She says for most of her CPG products, short-form drives to retail, which is where the real money is. “Where short-form will generate $100 in sales on the airing, that goes up to $1,000 in retail,” she says. ■

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