Video Advertising Perspectives from Tim Hawthorne, an Entrepreneur Long Before Streaming Video

While we all hunker down, work from home, and stream video content, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to talk to one of the original greats in long-form video advertising, Tim Hawthorne, founder of Hawthorne Advertising. On June 1, Tim will be bestowed a “Lifetime Achievement” honor by Marketing EDGE in New York as part of its EDGE Awards. Here, he shares valuable perspective on a video advertising career in an increasingly rich, ubiquitous medium for consumers, brands, and marketers.

Video Advertising

A ‘Love Story’ for Film

Chet: Tim, first of all, congratulations! I’m so happy to see you recognized by Marketing EDGE – with its mission of marketing education and professional development, bringing the best and brightest into the marketing field. When you graduated from college – Harvard University no less, in 1973 (really, I mean, “Love Story“) – did you have any inkling that you would build a career of first in direct-response television (DRTV) and video advertising?

Tim:  No, I had no idea in 1968 as I matriculated to Harvard that I would eventually become a pioneer of direct response television marketing. (First of all, yes, “Love Story” for sure. I was wandering through the Harvard Yard in the fall of 1969 when they were shooting exteriors. Not sure, but I might be one of those students hurriedly rushing to class in the background.)

Tim Hawthorne
Tim Hawthorne, founder and strategic advisor, Hawthorne Advertising (Fairfield, Iowa), will be honored on June 1, during Marketing EDGE’s EDGE Awards in New York.

It was turbulent times while I attended Harvard – 1968-1973.  (I’m actually Class of ’68 but took a year off after my sophomore year to teach school in Ethiopia with the Harvard Africa Volunteer Project, so I graduated in ’73.) Initially, I intended to study chemistry, then switched to social psychology, influenced by the turbulent social times in the late 60s. But after getting my hands on a still camera in Ethiopia, I decided I’d take a still photography/documentary filmmaking course when I reentered Harvard in the fall of ’71. I was fascinated with the process of editing film, and then determined I’d pursue a career in filmmaking.

Searching for a job post-graduation in my hometown of Minneapolis, I was fortunate to be hired by the investigative documentary unit of the local CBS station, WCCO-TV. I worked there for almost five years, advancing from production assistant to editor to cinematographer, learning the craft of long-form storytelling. Our unit produced amazing documentaries that were often the No. 1 rated television programs in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market and won multiple awards, including the du Pont-Columbia and Peabody awards. I then became a producer/director/writer when I moved to the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia and eventually worked for a number of LA-based network primetime reality-based shows such as “Real People” and “That’s Incredible.”

Chet: Did you grow up having a love for industrial films of the 50s and 60s – which I think were a great precursor to the infomercial age and video advertising?

Tim:  No, I didn’t have any particular love for industrial films (which in the 50s, 60s, and 70s were the height of boring and simplistic video communications!) It’s my background in documentaries – telling a long form story on people and subjects – that seemed a natural basis on which to pioneer telling long-form consumer product stories.

Like many consumers, I’ve never liked being “sold” especially when I’ve felt manipulated. And of course, short-form TV commercial brand selling is very much about manipulating emotions (via humor, poignancy, excitement) and associating strong positive images (sex, strength, beauty) with a product – a very subtle and often deceptive way of selling.

Infomercial or long-form advertising has always been based on factual selling – the exposition of features and benefits – of course, in as entertaining a way as possible. But at least the channel is up-front about its message:  Here’s a product, here’s what it can do, and here are the benefits to you. This “truth in advertising” has always appealed to me. Producing documentaries is also about discovering the truth about a person, group, or issue.

In 1984, having moved from LA to Iowa for lifestyle reasons (wanting to raise our daughter Jessica in the Midwest where I grew up), I was open for new opportunities.  A local real estate investment entrepreneur heard of my background and approached me about producing a long-form commercial. It would be an hour long … and a challenge. That was November 1984, one of the first infomercials on air. Within 12 months, the infomercial had grossed more than $60 million dollars and dominated the long-form air waves. Fairfield Television Enterprise was the company I formed to market the infomercial and over 18 months we revolutionized long-form TV direct response.

Chet: How did early success stories translate to business growth? Were there mentors you paid close attention to? (Alvin Eicoff comes to mind).

Tim:  Eighteen months after launching Ed Beckley’s real estate investment infomercial, I became disillusioned with the way the company was moving forward. I resigned in April 1986 and took a couple of months off before starting Hawthorne Communications, later to become Hawthorne Direct, and then become Hawthorne Advertising. In late June 1986, I was a one-person company with the goal to persuade Fortune 500 companies to add long-form TV commercials to their marketing mix. We were the first infomercial ad agency in the world and I was confident that virtually all products had, somewhere at their hearts, a fascinating story we tell and hold viewers’ attention for 28 minutes and 30 seconds.

The agency had a singular focus: TV long-form advertising. There was no road map for the industry. We invented it as we went along. Certainly Al Eicoff was the reigning master of DRTV (and his book “Or Your Money Back” a short-form DRTV bible) but his company focused on short-form DRTV (2 minutes or less). So I and my growing team began to innovate, and I began to write about and present the long form story to marketing groups and corporations literally around the world. There was no road map; we were the trailblazers.

A Litany of Firsts and Video Advertising Innovations

Chet: Trailblazer indeed. What are some of the innovations you have brought to the field of DRTV, infomercials, and more recently digital video programming? How has digital disruption affected the traditional DRTV and broadcast channel, from a marketing perspective?

Tim: I’ve been called a “leading architect” of the DRTV industry by producing an impressive string of “firsts”:

  • Co-founder and president of the first infomercial direct marketer to break the $50 million revenue per year mark, Fairfield Television Enterprises
  • Founder and chairman of the first infomercial advertising agency, Hawthorne Communications
  • Produced the first infomercial for: a Fortune 500 company – Time Life; a major music company – Time Life Music; a major credit card company – Discover Card; a major health insurance company – Blue Cross Blue Shield; and a retail driving campaign for a brand name product – Braun
  • Infomercial Agency of Record for the first infomercial for: a major computer company – Apple Computers; and a major weight loss company – Weight Watchers
  • Infomercial Agency of Record for the first “promo-mercial” – a half-hour promotion for a primetime TV series (NBC’s “JAG”)
  • Published the industry’s first newsletter: “The 1-800 Report”
  • Published the industry’s first hard-bound textbook on infomercials: “The Complete Guide to Infomercial Marketing”
  • Created the first long-form TV media buying computer analysis system – “Time Track”
  • Purchased the first long-term cable TV bulk media contract: Discover Network, for $50 per half hour, six hours per night
  • Established the first infomercial agency/traditional agency alliance with Earl Palmer Brown

As for innovations to digital video, Hawthorne was one of the first agencies to actively use video promotion on websites (late 1990s) and we pioneered the “drive online direct sales” with short-form TV commercials, which were designed to motivate new visitors to our web-based clients.

Yes, the digital economy has significantly disrupted DRTV, as it has the television entertainment model as a whole. With a 35% drop in primetime adult (18-49) viewership from 2015-2019, the era of aggregating mass audiences on broadcast TV is long over.

A Family Affair – and an Investment in the Future

Chet: Was it a great leap – or expansion – from Fairfield, Iowa (hey, I’m from Nebraska) to Los Angeles? What brought Hawthorne Advertising to LA (and beyond)? Was there a talent pool you needed there?

Tim: From the beginning, Hawthorne was somewhat disadvantaged being a national advertising agency headquartered in a small Iowa town. We did have a small LA office (two staff) from the early 90s to keep in touch with our West Coast clients. But when Jessica (my daughter) came on board in March 2007, she brought an energy and vision to the company previously unknown.

Her goal was to build the LA office and lead the company into a digital future. And she has done that in spades, making LA our headquarters, while our Iowa office strongly administratively supports LA to this day. Our LA office certainly had access to talent we always struggled to persuade to move to Iowa, as you, being a Nebraskan, are probably aware of. It was a brilliant move by Jessica which has allowed the company to continue to thrive going into our 35th year.

Chet: Well now we know why Marketing EDGE named Jessica Hawthorne-Castro a 2015 Rising Stars honoree. (You must be very proud!)

Tim: Yes, I’m very proud of Jessica’s ownership and leadership of the company. And it wasn’t by design. Jessica was a thriving talent agent at Endeavor, one of the few women agents at that male-dominated business with six years’ tenure. But she recognized that industry was missing certain business and spiritual values important to her. In February 2007, I coincidentally asked her if she had time to monitor a commercial talent audition in LA that we needed someone to attend. She did it, enjoyed it, and said she would be open to coming on board at Hawthorne. Over the next five years she soaked up the business, brought much-needed youthfulness to our efforts, advanced from client service associate to CEO, and built our LA office to 50-plus employees, while transforming the agency to a digital foundation.

Chet: As an author of several business books on DRTV and infomercial formats, and likely a bevy of company alumni in the field today, you’ve contributed so much to the professional development of data-driven marketers, marketing measurement, attribution and the like. What part of giving back to the field do you find most gratifying? Is there a particular “lifetime” achievement you’re most proud of?

Response Magazine
Tim Hawthorne and Jessica Hawthorne-Castro share the cover of Response Magazine (June 2011) on the 25th Anniversary of the Hawthorne Advertising agency.

Tim: My greatest achievement? Creating a company that has endured for 35 years and allowed hundreds of staff to learn, thrive, and grow in marketing knowledge and experience, while realizing greater personal achievement and confidence. We created a company that was a home for our staff to do great work amid friendship and respect. Undoubtedly my greatest achievement, far beyond any creative work for a client.

Thank you Tim – and we’re so happy to celebrate your contributions at the EDGE Awards come June 1.  And much more video success ahead!

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
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856-745-3268

Building housewares brands with brand response TV

Growing Unicorns with DRTV

It is time for marketers to take advantage of the DRTV expansion to solve some of their biggest advertising pain points.

Karla Crawford Kerr on September 26, 2019 at 9:51 am

Housewares and brand response television have a long and robust shared history. Over 30 years ago, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) deregulated television air time allowing different time formats of commercial air time to be purchased. This paved the way for the live shopping channels as we know them today, showcasing many housewares products. It also opened up the airwaves to longer formats like 30-minute infomercials. Braun and Black+Decker were among the first major housewares retail brands to embrace the format, an early example of direct response television (DRTV), in which consumers are encouraged to buy directly from advertisements.

Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, longer format advertising represented about 75% of the DRTV landscape and today the industry is worth over $200 billionPopular housewares DRTV advertisers achieved an almost cult-like status by using a variety of lengths including from 30 seconds to a half hour and live shopping to promote products like the George Foreman Grill, OxiClean, ShamWow and of course, the Snuggie. However, it is brands like Conair, Cuisinart, Dollar Shave, KitchenAid, Pfizer, Shark, Wahl Clipper Corporation and WORX that have paved the way for advertising that utilizes both branding and response mechanisms or brand response advertising.

As television and media consumption habits have evolved, along with advertising and marketing technology, so has DRTV, paving the way for the next generation of brand response TV. The role of DRTV is expanding in the brand marketing world and the next generation of DRTV has opened up powerful opportunities for housewares brands seeking accountability and faster campaign ROI. As the role of DRTV expands in the brand marketing world, it is time for marketers to take advantage of that expansion to solve some of their biggest advertising pain points.

In today’s competitive media landscape, brand advertisers struggle more than ever before to earn market share using traditional approaches due to factors like cost and fragmentation. Targeting consumers and B2B customers is getting extremely difficult. Put simply, it’s hard to stand out in an environment where people are bombarded by brand messages all day, on all sides. Social media may be widely used, but it also gives brands a split second to make an impression. What marketers need is a canvas that tells a story in an attention-getting medium, which is why they are turning to brand response TV (BRTV) and connected TV with the traditional bag of tricks like retargeting.

Brand response advertising increases brand awareness, improves brand perception and drives engagement. It is highly accountable, measurable, and delivers real ROI. It features customized, relevant content and works in conjunction with other types of media and channels. The brand response paradigm leverages a strong data component and can empower brands to make better decisions around media buys, messaging, and their overall campaigns. Marketers can analyze real-time performance statistics and test strategies in an ongoing way. BRTV is also more affordable and efficient than general advertising.

Despite these major benefits, many brand marketers are reluctant to invest in brand response TV due to concerns that people aren’t watching. Certainly video content is evolving, but that doesn’t mean TV is dead.

In an October 2018 study, the Consumer Technology Association surveyed 2,000 US adults about their content consumption habits. The survey yielded four main segments: Traditionalists, Value-Conscious Streamers, Device-Diverse Viewers and Experience Seekers. Traditionalists (29%) haven’t tried new technology and are less likely to stream or binge-watch; Value-Conscious Streams (41%) are more likely to use streaming services than cable and prioritize saving money; Device-Diverse Viewers (13%) watch a lot of video content from many sources on many devices; Experience Seekers (17%) prioritize an optimal viewing experience, and are willing to spend on technology and content to get that experience.

Across all these personas, one thing is clear – TV remains the top device for viewing content and cable/satellite remains the top source for content. TV is highly relevant and a long way from becoming obsolete. Housewares brands that invest in brand response TV can get serious bang for their buck.

Housewares brands are particularly suited to brand response advertising for a number of reasons. One is the power of demonstration. Brands can show their products in action and demonstrate how they will improve people’s lives in a way that is impactful and enticing. Consider Dyson, Keurig, Leesa, Rust-Oleum and T-Mobile. Viewers can immediately see how these products address a clear pain point and offer better ease and convenience than whatever they’re currently doing.

Housewares tend to be fairly intimate since they are products people use in their homes, so creating an emotional connection with viewers is key. This is why so many of the stars of DRTV are “everyman” or “everywoman” types who viewers feel comfortable with, recognize, and trust.  Housewares brands using brand response have a natural, high-focus on their relationship with consumers. The shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce has been beneficial to brands as they engage directly with the consumer via Amazon FBM (fulfillment by merchant), as well as interactions with consumers that share their housewares experience online.

Further, using brand response for housewares creates more room to deploy creative strategies, as suggested by Dash, Sobro and Wahl Clipper Corporation executives at the aforementioned building housewares brands seminar. For example, Catherine-Gail Reinhard, vice president, product strategy & marketing for Dash and Sobro shared that she often creates recipes and/or develops cookbooks that complement a food-related houseware. At the same seminar, Steven Yde, Vice President Marketing NAC division, said that offering guides from in-house barbers helps build value and ensures greater product satisfaction.

Direct response advertising has come a long way from the days of Ron Popeil’s first TV commercials for Ronco’s housewares gadgets like the Ronco Spray Gun, the Chop-O-Matic and the Veg-O-Matic, but clearly many aspects have remained the same.  In 2019 and beyond, brand response TV is a highly effective and cost-efficient approach for any housewares brand that wants to strategically grow and have a meaningful impact.

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.

Hawthorne to Present May 30th Webinar on DRTV (Direct Response Television) Basics

Hawthorne Logo

LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Hawthorne, a leading Los Angeles-based advertising agency specializing in analytics-based campaigns, today announced the company will host a webinar entitled, “DRTV 101 for Brand Marketers: The Expanding Role of DRTV in the Brand Marketing World” on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 from 1-2pm ET. There will be an introduction to the webinar by Hawthorne’s CEO Jessica Hawthorne-Castro. Hawthorne’s Chief Strategy Officer, George Leon, and Senior Vice President of Marketing at Le Tote, Nick Fairbairn, will serve as co-presenters.

LINK TO REGISTER FOR WEBINAR

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Presentation Will Explore Advantages, Strategies for Brand Marketers Within Today’s New Generation DRTV Realm

The webinar, hosted in conjunction with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), will explore the expanding role of new-generation DRTV in the brand marketing world, and how marketers can take advantage of that expansion. It will offer key insights into developing winning DRTV-focused creative strategies and successful media campaigns. It will also cover how DRTV works in conjunction with other types of media/channels. Attendees will hear first-hand from the DRTV experts the key pain points that DRTV is solving for brands.

Key points to be covered in the webinar include:

  • How new-generation DRTV is effective in launching and/or growing brands
  • When to consider DRTV as part of a marketing mix
  • How DRTV works with other types of media/channels
  • The best DRTV messaging strategies
  • DRTV’s analytics advantage
  • For information about how to register for the webinar, please click here.

 

About the presenters:

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne
Jessica serves as CEO of Hawthorne, a leading technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns. As CEO, Jessica has fostered long-standing relationships with the company’s expansive base of diversified clients resulting from an unwavering commitment to unparalleled service. From creative and production to strategy, media and analytics, Jessica ensures quality and innovation throughout all disciplines of the agency. Her client roster includes 3M, Audible, Armor All, Carbonite, Black+DECKER, Dyson, Gerber Life, L’Oreal, Hamilton Beach, HomeAdvisor, Pella, PETA, Transamerica and zulily.

George Leon, Chief Strategy Officer of Hawthorne
George oversees Hawthorne’s media strategy, execution, analytics and spearheads Hawthorne’s data science and “big data” initiatives on behalf of a broad range of major brand clients. He leads a diverse team of account directors, data scientists, media strategists, buyers and planners who work on a broad range of major brand clients, managing billions of dollars of media allocations and investments. His portfolio of clients includes Angie’s List, BLACK+DECKER, Brother International, Carbonite, Credit One Bank, Dexcom, Dyson, HomeAdvisor, Indochino, It’s Just Lunch, Mars, Mattel, Penn Foster, Philips Electronics, thredUP, VARIDESK, zulily and more.

Nick Fairbairn, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Le Tote
Nick oversees brand and communications, media strategy and customer acquisition, as well as revenue and forecast management. While building a team and infrastructure in his first 11 months on the job, he led the team to scale the company more than 100%. Before joining Le Tote, he served as Vice President of Brand Marketing at Dollar Shave Club. Prior to that, he ran the acquisition marketing group at Provide Commerce/FTD Companies (umbrella brand for ProFlowers, Shari’s Berries, FTD.com and more). He began his career on the agency side with his client roster including Google, Microsoft, eBay, Disney, Visa and more.

Headshots are available upon request or can be downloaded here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/Pa8N5LFhGe

About Hawthorne:
Hawthorne, 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 30 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:
Alexea Candreva
acandreva@sspr.com