Hawthorne Advertising Celebrates 35 Years of Accountable Advertising

Full-service, independent agency that pioneered direct response advertising looks toward a bright future

Hawthorne Advertising 35th Anniversary


LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3, 2021 — Hawthorne Advertising, a full-service independent advertising agency, is celebrating its 35th Anniversary. Performance and accountability have been staples of Hawthorne Advertising from its inception as an early response advertising pioneer and carried through to its current role as a data-driven agency hyper-focused on metrics and delivering strong return-on-investment for clients.

In the past 35 years, the agency has created categories, pushed boundaries, and delivered strategic, measurable and accountable results for its clients. The agency has explored, embraced, and advanced the proliferation of big data advertising. Hawthorne Advertising continues this exploration today, staying ahead of the curve to continuously drive measurable and profitable results.

“I am so proud to lead an agency that has constantly focused on developing cutting-edge strategy, transparent accountability, and above all, top-tier client service,” said Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO. “At Hawthorne Advertising, the past 35 years have illustrated the long-term value of constant questioning and innovative ideation to push the business forward. We have developed industry-leading technology and created high-value, high-ROI campaigns for our clients. This is all possible through the tireless, creative work of my colleagues, who come to work every day ready to think outside the box. From where I stand, and thanks to its phenomenal creatives, strategists, planners, and account teams, Hawthorne Advertising’s future is very bright.”

In 2015, Hawthorne-Castro purchased the business from her father, Tim Hawthorne, who founded the agency in 1986, bringing the business into a new chapter. She implemented her transformative vision, shifting the agency’s focus from direct response advertising to brand awareness campaigns and strategy, developing proprietary attribution technology, and implementing innovative best practices that are now industry standard. Hawthorne Advertising’s guiding principle is to create emotional attachments between brands, consumers, and products, but with a continued commitment to ROI metrics.

Hawthorne Advertising puts culture and giving back to the community at the forefront and has been named a Great Place to Work ™ year over year by its employees and is a certified Woman-Owned Business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Hawthorne Advertising was named to the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies and Hawthorne-Castro has won numerous leadership awards, including the Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Transformational Leader category for the Greater Los Angeles area.

For 35 years, Hawthorne Advertising has been the champion of accountable advertising, garnering billions in sales for its clients and over 500 creative awards. Hawthorne Advertising is grateful for each and every one of its clients, including internationally recognized brands such as 3M, Apple, Clorox, Dyson, L’Oréal and Western Digital along with the continued success across client categories including home services, insurance, financial, health & wellness, CPG, fitness, food and beverage and gaming. In addition, the agency will continue its history of innovation as it will be launching an entirely new, proprietary tech platform that will provide best-in-class media attribution and key business intelligence insights. On every level, the agency is structured to sustain transformative change and drive successful campaigns for years to come.


About Hawthorne Advertising:
Hawthorne Advertising, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning, buying and analytics, and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns. With 35 years of proven excellence, the agency combines persuasive brand messaging with best-in-class analytic systems to create accountable, high performance advertising campaigns.
Hawthorne Advertising helps brands efficiently target their consumers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize the lifetime value of a brand’s customers, and even drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations. As a leading analytic and data driven, accountable brand advertising agency, Hawthorne Advertising specializes in integrated campaign solutions. The company offers a full suite of integrated solutions with creative, media, digital and mobile services. Hawthorne Advertising maintains brand integrity and metrics to efficiently and effectively optimize the results of its clients’ integrated media budgets via leading edge and proven data analytics.
Hawthorne Advertising has developed successful award-winning campaigns for countless Fortune 500 brands. Please visit www.hawthorneadvertising.com and https://www.linkedin.com/company/wearehawthorne/ for more information.

Tim Hawthorne Honored With 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award by Marketing EDGE

LOS ANGELESJan. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Tim Hawthorne, Founder and Chairman of creative, analytics, and technology-driven advertising agency, Hawthorne Advertising, has been named as a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit organization. This award recognizes Hawthorne’s contributions to the field of marketing and the educational development of future marketers. It pays tribute to the lives, campaigns, and businesses Hawthorne has influenced and inspired to pursue career excellence and performance through intelligent, evocative, creative, accountable marketing.

Tim Hawthorne

“It’s an honor to receive the Lifetime Achievement award from Marketing EDGE,” said Hawthorne. “I’ve dedicated my career to pushing the advertising industry forward and fostering the next generation of marketing leaders. I deeply appreciate the recognition and thank Marketing EDGE for this opportunity.”

Hawthorne graduated cum laude from Harvard University. After producing and writing news documentaries with CBS and NBC TV stations in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, he founded Hawthorne Productions in 1980 and was accepted into the Directors Guild of America. Early clients included the prime-time programs Real People and That’s Incredible! and the syndicated shows You Asked for ItRipley’s Believe It or Not, and Entertainment Tonight. He also contributed programs to the emerging Cable Health Network.[2][3][4]

In 1986, Hawthorne founded Hawthorne Communications, now Hawthorne Advertising, the first full service agency focused exclusively on long form direct response television (DRTV). Since its inception, the company has managed over 600 DRTV campaigns and grossed billions of dollars in sales for its clients with its performance marketing expertise. Hawthorne Advertising consistently wins dozens of awards each year for the excellence of its work and collaborates with an impressive roster of Fortune 500 clients. The agency stands out for the impact, influence, and innovation of its campaigns.

Tim Hawthorne is credited with a number of DRTV industry firsts. He was the first advocate of major brand advertisers incorporating long-form TV advertising in their media mix and negotiated the first long-term bulk media contract with a national cable network. He co-founded NIMA (later known as the Electronic Retailing Association) and wrote the industry’s most cited full-length textbook. Hawthorne produced and managed the first infomercial for a Fortune 500 company, a major credit card company, a major health insurance company, and created the first campaign using DRTV to drive retail sales for an established brand. He oversaw the development of the first software program dedicated to analyzing sales and viewership performance of long form media and coined the term Media Efficiency Ratio (MER), a key performance indicator now a standard industry metric.

Hawthorne has garnered many awards throughout his career including a Lifetime Achievement award from the former Electronic Retailing Association and induction into the Direct Response Hall of Fame. He has been named the “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Midwest Region by USA Today and Ernst & Young and recognized as one of the “25 Most Influential People In DRTV” by Response Magazine. Hawthorne’s long-term leadership in the DRTV field earned him the moniker “Father of the Infomercial.”

Today, Hawthorne Advertising is owned and operated by his daughter, Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, a former Marketing EDGE Rising Star who also has a host of awards including the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” for Greater Los Angeles. Hawthorne-Castro continues the tradition of being an industry leader in performance marketing and data analytics, delivering an ROI for their clients that exceeds all others.

“Tim was the person who first introduced me to the advertising business and has always been a tremendous source of wisdom and support,” said Hawthorne-Castro. “It’s wonderful to see his achievements recognized in this way and I am excited to celebrate with him.”

Now in its fifth year, the Marketing EDGE Awards celebrate excellence in marketing leadership. Each year, Marketing EDGE considers a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree by reviewing an individual’s hard work and success throughout their career and considering their dedication to supporting marketing educational programs. The ceremony for the 2020 EDGE Awards will take place on Monday, June 1 at Pier Sixty in New York City. Proceeds from the evening will benefit Marketing EDGE, to further its mission of launching the next generation of diverse and inclusive marketing leaders.

This year, Marketing EDGE held its first ever kick-off event on January 21 at the Nasdaq offices in NYC’s Times Square. Hawthorne-Castro attended the January 21 event to represent her father. To learn more about the company and how they deliver value by combining creative services with data science, visit hawthornedirect.com.

About Hawthorne Advertising:
Hawthorne Advertising, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning, buying and analytics, and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns. With nearly 35 years of proven excellence, the agency combines persuasive brand messaging with best-in-class analytic systems to create accountable, high performance advertising campaigns. Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target their consumers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize the lifetime value of a brand’s customers, and even drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations. As a leading analytic and data driven, accountable brand advertising agency, Hawthorne specializes in integrated campaign solutions. The company offers a full suite of integrated solutions with creative, media, digital and mobile services. Hawthorne maintains brand integrity and metrics to efficiently and effectively optimize the results of its clients’ integrated media budgets via leading edge and proven data analytics. Hawthorne has developed successful award-winning campaigns for countless Fortune 500 brands. Please visit www.hawthornedirect.com and http://www.linkedin.com/company/hawthorne-direct for more information.

Media Contact:
Rachel Bernstein

DRTV Lessons from Successful Brand Launches

As seen on DRTV

By George Leon, Chief Strategy Officer – Hawthorne

Original Publication: New Media and Marketing 

Date of Publication: January 23, 2019

When it comes to capitalizing on direct response television (DRTV) advertising, some of the best advice comes from privately held startups valued at over $1 billion. That’s because they’ve seemingly mastered the use of TV advertising that directly engages consumers, from launch to growth.

Successful brands like Experian, Dollar Shave Club and Peloton have used DRTV precisely because it is particularly effective for launching and building brands. They appreciate the fact that you can directly engage with consumers by displaying toll-free numbers and/or website URLs and asking them to take specific actions. They also like that DRTV works across all potential consumer touchpoints, is highly measurable, and makes good use of data. And DRTV seamlessly integrates with their entire portfolios of advertising and media channels, including digital, offline, mail, email, radio, print, etc., yet can still be can be customized, targeted and segmented across all those channels.

Brand Strategy

In a recentwebinarhosted by the Data & Marketing Association on the basics of DRTV and its expanding role in brand marketing, I had the privilege of talking with champion unicorn marketer, Nick Fairbairn, who is Chief Marketing, Growth & Revenue Officer for Go. Previously, Fairbairn was Senior VP of Marketing at Le Tote and VP of Brand Marketing at Dollar Shave Club.

In our discussion about DRTV, we covered everything from messaging to the importance of metrics. I recommend you listen to the full webinar, but I’ve pulled out what I think are the top takeaways:

As seen on DRTV

1. Take a portfolio approach
It’s gotten harder and harder for brands to earn market share from traditional TV approaches. Because the more common approaches are losing steam, brands need new ways to capture customers’ attention, and DRTV delivers. But don’t forget you can’t shift to a new medium and forget the rest. You have to build and maintain a portfolio.

DRTV is anchored around accountability performance and measurement, and provides for greater customer targeting and segmentation across all channels. That’s why it is becoming a bigger part of brands’ omnichannel campaigns. But it isn’t – and shouldn’t be – the only part.

I asked Fairbairn for his advice regarding the portfolio approach, and he stressed that dependencies on one channel, such as social media, can spell trouble. “What happens when the algorithms no longer work? Or what happens when the creative stops working? In some of these digital channels you have one second to tell a story. In television, you can tell a little bit more of a story. And you can drive response at the same time.”

2. Know your audience
DRTV’s strong data component is driving its growth. Data helps you identify and target the customer, right-size your message for the customer and also pick and choose the right channels and right devices. That’s critical, because the customer journey has expanded.

The good news is DRTV is rooted in strong data, and that data can be used to sharpen your knowledge about current and potential customers and determine the best channel or channels work best for which audience and which marketing campaign. It’s no longer one customer one channel, now it’s one customer multiple channels and multiple devices.

Fine Tune Your Message

3. Fine-tune your message
Once you know your customer – and again, take full advantage of data to best understand their preferences – it’s time to think about your message. The data can help inform not only the message, but its optimal length and form (short or long) and the right cadence of ads. And how customers consume messaging? You’ll need to consider everything from television to the internet and all the way down to radio and print.

With DRTV, you can take a message and customize for the audience and the channel. That’s important, because the customer journey has expanded. They have choices and are driving their own experiences, and DRTV can help you craft the right message, the right frequency and right channel.

4. Get creative with your creative
Stop the customer before he or she gets up from the couch and walks away. And if you’ve fine-tuned your message (see #3) it’s easier come up with a show-stopping opener. Keep things simple, straightforward and succinct, too.

One question many brands ask is whether to uses a spokesperson. Sometimes, it makes sense. But using spokespeople can be costly and sometimes overtake your message or your brand. Don’t forget the power of testimonials, transformation tales, and imagery.

Fairbairn had some powerful advice about blending visual messaging with audio in DRTV ads, and I couldn’t agree more.

“It’s not just about audio,” Fairbairn said. “People always say to me, ‘You already said it in the spot, so why show it on screen? But there is something about queuing the two pieces together to increase the retention of the message.”

Finally, never end your DRTV advertisement on a weak note. Carefully consider your call to action and brand placement on the screen.

Many common brands have their roots in responsive TV integrated with digital executions. Their strategies and tactics provide great learnings and will provide a great roadmap for the next, great brand launch.

Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target new customers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize customer lifetime value and drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations. Contact us to learn more about our expertise by  Contacting Hawthorne.

Why direct response TV marketing is still effective

By Bill Cogar

Original Publication: SmartBrief

Date of Publication: October 23, 2018

Any advertisement that engages consumers and asks them to respond directly to a brand in the form of a click, call or purchase, including but not limited to mailers, billboards, social and display advertisements, emails, texts or calls is known as responsive or accountable advertising. When TV is the medium, it is known as Direct Response TV Advertising, or DRTV.With DRTV ads, brands aim to educate their consumers on the features and benefits of their product, and then have that consumer take one of the aforementioned actions. As a little background — DRTV was born out of infomercial-era ads where products often became household names overnight (literally and figuratively). Famed examples include the George Foreman Grill, ShamWow or the cultural phenomenon, the Snuggie; all these products became million-dollar brands after utilizing this long-form advertising.

Over the last 20 years, the industry has seen a variety of video lengths utilized on TV and the internet, including 30 minutes, 120 seconds, 60 seconds, 30 seconds and 15 seconds. Now six-second pre-rolls are a standard. As society’s attention span get shorter, the advertisements are getting shorter as well, and messaging is more succinct. Industry insiders often claim that TV as an advertising medium is a dying art form, but with a projected $80B to be spent in 2019 (up 9% from 2018), and still 100 million individuals across the US that don’t have broadband internet, TV remains the most potent mass medium of our time.

Turn on the TV, and you will catch plenty of DRTV ads from emerging brands such as Away, Peloton, Hims and UNTUCKit. The reason these companies choose to utilize DRTV is because it is particularly effective for launching and building brands that are looking beyond digital and social channels. With that said, it’s important to note that it’s not just startups using this medium. Well-known brands such as P&G, AT&T, GEICO and L’Oreal all utilize some form of direct response creative or media in their TV advertising. Dollar Shave Club, Chewy, Jet.com, Nest Labs and zulily: each of these direct to consumer brands went from startup to multi-billion-dollar buyout before their 10th birthdays. That’s not all they’ve had in common — they’ve also used mass-reach TV to fuel their explosive growth. To clarify, DRTV isn’t the only marketing mechanisms these brands utilized, but it was a key contributor to their meteoric rise.

The beauty of DRTV, and the appeal for brands, is that it is more affordable to purchase, easier to test into and optimize and more measurable when compared to brand advertising. It is more efficient when it comes to total audience measurement, there are DRTV avails on all major cable and broadcast networks and the ads motivate customers to engage on one channel as well as across multiple channels. Typically, DRTV creative costs are significantly lower than brand advertising. All these benefits add up to faster measurement of campaign ROI.

DRTV is measurable, can be customized, targeted and segmented across all channels and makes good use of data. It also integrates with other media channels, including digital, offline, mail, email, radio, print, etc. Further, its reach and frequency can be maximized across all potential consumer touchpoints.

DRTV has a multitude of advantages, and for more and more companies, it is increasingly becoming the next tactic for startups after they have maximized their efforts on social media and other digital outlets. With creative messaging, frequency and the right channels, DRTV campaigns have the potential to reach and engage potential and existing customers in a relevant, customized manner. DRTV has been used by brands since the 1980s, but we’ve come a long way from the late-night infomercials that hawked wares while most people slept. Today, infomercials as long-form DRTV ads, and now the shorter DRTV spot ads, can be viewed at all hours. They still air because companies see a direct correlation of investment in media spend correlating with company revenue and sales growth. A brand’s DRTV marketing, if done right, pays for itself and generates a positive ROI on the investment. Now, more and more we’re seeing startups and well-known brands employ DRTV — and they too are reaping the benefits.

Bill CogarBill Cogar is the Director of Marketing at Hawthorne, focusing on new client acquisition and marketing strategy. His clients span a wide range of industries, from consumer technology and CPG to consumer services and e-learning. Prior to joining Hawthorne, Bill worked for the full-service digital agency, Uptown Treehouse, where he was responsible for business development and strategy. His new business acquisitions include UNIQLO, Vans, Holland America Line, SAP Concur, Lenovo and PAX Labs. He attended the University of Virginia where he majored in history with a concentration in globalism and the development of the modern world.

Brand Lift: Why TV Ads Are Key to Marketing Houseware and Hardware Products

Remote Control

Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO

Original Publication: ERA Blog

Date Published: April 5, 2018

Remote Control

Retail product marketers have straightforward goals: attract new customers, increase product sales and improve the brand’s awareness to drive recurring sales for their product or group of products. However, this is a challenging task in the current, tumultuous retail environment combined with a fragmented media environment. Many institutions that built and supported U.S. commerce for decades, like Sears, Macy’s and Toys “R” Us, have had to shut down a significant number of their locations or, in the case of Toys “R” Us, experienced full bankruptcy liquidation. As a result, new media options have pushed marketers to reinvent themselves to keep up with the demands and shopping considerations of today’s retail customer.

We all know that brick-and-mortar retail has been transitioning towards digital executions over the past decade, while companies like Amazon and Walmart are paving the way in e-commerce. The lines separating traditional from online retail are disappearing. But marketers, don’t lose hope, there is still a proven marketing approach for driving retail sales with the right, carefully planned advertising campaign that guarantees ROI.

Advertising is different from what it was a decade or two ago. That said, offline and television advertising still remain key mediums that can build product awareness, engage consumers and sell products to targeted audiences, while also generating “brand lift” (an increase in audience or customer perceptions as a result of an advertising campaign) across the board. And whether we want to admit it or not, having a product appear in the intimacy of consumers’ living room so the large screen TV still makes a strong, positive impression that the brand is thriving and should be a part of their lives.

Savvy marketers today understand the importance of looking beyond sales lifts for individual products and toward increasing positive perceptions for an entire product line. Brand lift is a measure of “stickiness,” and this kind of big-picture approach can help marketers gain better awareness of campaign ROI and can support better decision-making. Brand lift is especially important to houseware and hardware brands because they produce lines of interconnected products, from kitchen appliances to vacuums and smart desks to blinds, flooring and cabinetry. This makes attributes around reliability, quality or reasonable pricing particularly important, because consumers associate these attributes to multiple products from a single company, making it essential that audiences have positive feelings about the brand itself.

The tricky part of measuring brand lift is that it’s basically a reflection of an audience’s feelings, perceptions and intent. These sentiments are tough to measure, whether they are opinions regarding the quality of a product or how likely a customer is to recommend a product to a friend. However, a marketer can measure the delivery of the advertising message across all channels and in the manner it chooses to launch and support a product. This is why TV still serves as the cornerstone for advertising campaigns. TV allows marketers to zoom out beyond “product X” by including messaging and content that speaks to the brand and the rest of the related products in the catalogue with the strongest, broadest audience delivery and single biggest impact across all nonlinear channels. This strategy can boost sales across all channels, extending reach across these channels, including products that are not featured in creative and media campaigns. The need for TV advertising being the sole factor in consumer reach is no longer exclusive. TV impacts all video, and as a result, allows consumers to engage across all channels and devices. TV creates an amplified “wall” of video and sound around the brand and down to the product.

A media model that measures the weight of TV with integrated extensions of reach, the right audience delivery and the right product messaging is the key to success in today’s retail economy. Marketers must test the right markets against control markets to assess the support of a specific product’s sale for select retailers. Those direct learnings should then be applied to extrapolate and forecast retail sales lift nationwide, along with the halo e-commerce sales lift. To effectively measure the impact of integrated reach, a marketer must also incorporate historical and seasonal retail sales data, by product or by retailer, so that sales baselines are established and measured pre- and post-media execution. Optimization should then be delivered and executed weekly to impact POS sales by constantly changing and improving the media strategy. With the right marketing partner, return on investment will be guaranteed for your media campaign.

Consider a houseware product line launched at major retailers, like Walmart, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as e-commerce giant, Amazon. For the measurement of the campaign in retail sales, let’s assume it had an equivalent 8:1 media efficiency ratio (MER), and the products in the campaign had more than 1,100 units per Target Ratings Point (TRP). Also, the brand sales lift for the products not featured in the creative went up by an extra 500+ units per TRP. For context, the TRP is defined as 1 percent of the targeted audience (not the total audience) that is reached by an advertisement, and it is a metric that helps us to understand the true impact of TV advertising. In this example, there’s a boost in non-advertised products that is typical of well-executed TV campaigns. Instead of utilizing a high-frequency strategy on smaller, targeted stations to execute longer creative length, the TV campaign was focused on high-value reach, high-profile national cable and broadcast stations driving strong TRPs and audience delivery. With this TV weight, digital messaging through retargeting video and rich video banner ads helped amplify the “wall” of video and product messaging driven by a strong TV execution.

Marketers shoring up their advertising strategies and planning for the year ahead should keep in mind that TV advertising is a strong and reliable driver of brand lift. Armed with the right strategic media, quality reach and frequency, brands can ensure that, just as a rising tide lifts all boats, so does featuring one product to benefit the other products in the line. It’s a rare one-two punch.