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Direct Response Advertising & Infomercial Production

DR Advertising & Infomercial Production

Archive for DRTV

What can the Trumpism phenomenon teach us about creating disruptive advertising that will get consumer attention?

What can the Trumpism phenomenon teach us about creating disruptive advertising that will get consumer attention?

What the United States experienced over the past four years has taught us something about marketing and messaging. With half the country voting for him again, it seems that something Trump has done resonated with millions of people. But how can we apply these strategies with selling products and services to consumers?

Trump has made it feasible to sell a product to millions of people without a track record, substantiation, vetting of claims, clinical results or any known price points. It is almost beyond any marketer’s fantasy. But it happened. And what can we learn from it as direct to consumer ad professionals selling through DRTV, Digital and Social vehicles?

Whether you like or hate the guy, he managed to tap into an emotion felt by many and was able to quantify it and we have seen that people came back for more. 

The group he largely appealed to was the disenfranchised. Folks that felt left behind. Folks that felt marginalized. Folks that felt misunderstood. Folks that felt as though no one was listening to them. They needed a hero, no matter how misguided or off the rails that hero might be. They didn’t fact check. They believed. They took a leap of faith.

So, how would someone launching or selling a product or service use this knowledge to ignite sales from a direct to consumer standpoint?

While not simplistic, one could glean small suggestions to keep an audience engaged and interested using some of the same strategies.

  • Use populist themes. Don’t be too intellectual. Keep it simple. Don’t be above them. Be on their level.
  • Use emotion. Sometimes emotion and the hope of a solution can resonate more than an over explanation of facts and figures. 
  • Use simple themes or tag lines. They don’t have to be super creative, but they need to inspire promise and hope.
  • Be repetitive.
  • Be a bit pushy. And even outrageous. 

Since Trump was able to engage fully half of America, the tactics and strategies used to market himself should not go unnoticed from a marketing standpoint. He accomplished the impossible as a modern day P.T. Barnum, who not only entertained but closed the sale. How many marketers long for the same? 

Digital Video Is Now a Must Have

Digital Video Is Now a Must Have

One of the hottest topics in business right now is using digital video as a way to educate and advertise.

In a mobile-mad world, people are watching more video than ever before, using smartphones to watch and share videos about everything, learning more about brands, and what they have to offer. Think about these stats from ImpactBND:

* 70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video.

* 52% of consumers claim that watching product videos makes them more confident and guides their online purchasing decisions.

* 72% of businesses believe video content has improved their conversion rates.
In today’s climate, it is more effective to make personalized and interactive content a more immersive and engaging experience for the consumer. People are looking for brands to connect with them in new ways, which is why video has become such a popular medium.

Video also has a more emotional impact with consumers and thus can create more impulse to take an action.

Avalanche has shifted its focus to not just create video for tv, but also for digital and social media. Do you feel that your business has incorporated video more in the past few years? If not, what is standing in your way?

Tips for Growing your Brand on Social Media

Raise Awareness of your Brand on Social Media

With the amount of people on social media it is important for your brand to be interactive and involved. Social media can range from many applications including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. They are all very different but these tips are guaranteed to work for all social media platforms.

  1. Take advantage of free social media tools 
    • there are tons of apps made to help edit and plan your social media layouts
  2. Cross promote your posts
    • what ever you post on one social media site post it on all of your accounts
  3. Post regularly
    • be careful not to overwhelm your audience 
  4. Interact and engage with your audience 
    • this can make or break your success on social media
  5. Use interactive hashtags and tags 
    • using hashtags helps get your account more views 
  6. Link everything
    • be sure to link your website on your social media posts and to add your social media on your website
  7. Follow and repurpose relevant accounts
  8. Ask questions to your audience
    • viewers are more likely to interact if it is made personal
  9. Handle complaints as they happen
    • do not wait when a complaint is posted about your brand or product other wise your reputation can be tarnished
  10. Connect and reach out to influencers 
    • influencers already have many followers and them promoting your product or brand can raise a lot of awareness

It’s hard starting up on social media. It takes time to see growth but is something that is well worth the wait. Activity on social media makes it easy for customers to interact and it encourages them to do more research on your product or brand. Listen and follow these tips we provided you today and you may start to see results very soon!

Avalanche Celebrates 18th Anniversary

18 years ago

In August of 2001, I incorporated a new company called Avalanche. I was terrified to start my own business alone with no backers, no funding, just hopes and dreams.

I sat on the paperwork for a few weeks, scared to proceed.  I was in New York City on September 11, 2001.  The horror I experienced was also mixed with the courage to move forward with my plan for Avalanche.  

And here we are 18 years later. 

As we celebrate our 18th year in business, I am filled with gratitude and thanks to all of the incredible marketers, partners, vendors, and associates who trusted us with their campaigns.  Without all of you, we would not have made it to our 18th year. 

As the business changes and transforms, we have transformed with it and see a bright future in omni channel marketing. Consumers still get excited by innovation. And so do we.

Take a stroll down memory lane with me and watch some of the many campaigns we were privileged to be a part of through the years.

4 Ways to Market to Generation Z

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4 Ways to Market to Generation Z

Written by our own Gen Z, Ariel Smith

It’s official, Generation Z has been declared as those born between the years 1995-2015, (3 to 23 years old). This group is born into a planet of technology and a time where social media is the norm. So what does this mean for marketers? Well, it means it’s time for us to step up our game and adapt to these new societal changes, whether we like it or not. They

want connections; therefore the old school hard sell is not the best way to advertise first anymore. No fluff messages are allowed, they can see right through that. We live in a time where short attention spans are the norm, due to the instant gratification society we live in today. The Internet has allowed us to dig into what a brand’s true colors are and what they stand for.

As marketers, it’s our job to keep up with the newest trends, technology, social platforms, etc. In order for us to better connect with generation Z, it is important for us to understand the culture of this generation. Marketers must embrace technology and the new ways of storytelling. Here are four ways to market to Generation Z.

  1. Work on Social Media Game: There is having social media and there is using social media. A few platforms that Generation Z frequently use are Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. The more you know about using each platform’s features, the better you can connect with your audience. Hashtags are a simple but effective way to help promote your brand organically. Engage with your audience by actually taking the time to respond to comments; they will appreciate it. User generated content is a sure way to have your own crowd; create contests and loyalty programs to spark up your social media. Remember, it’s also important to be relevant and engaging on all your platforms.


  1. Utilize Video- Video marketing has become extremely popular over the past few years in the digital era. According to HubSpot, 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions. That is a whooping 90%! The key is to be authentic as much as possible. There are various options like Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and Snapchat Stories, just to name a few. The key is to keep the copy light and the graphics colorful to grab and maintain attention. Short videos with subtitles are the way to go! Using video communications to connect with your audience is a great and easy way to get new leads and sales.

  1. Be Mobile Friendly– Phones are the primary platform of Gen Z, because they’re glued to them 24/7. It’s important to be mobile friendly for your product. A few factors to consider are to make sure your content is quick to load, as you don’t want to lose eyeballs, a quick and simple Call to Action, minimal copy, and a clear message.
  1. Create Awesome Content– As stated before (this is key to marketing to Gen Z), fluffing your message to potential customers is not the way to go. Instead, focus on providing information viewers can learn from or that they would find engaging and entertaining. This way, they will be thinking positively and optimistically about your brand and not dread a commercial interruption. In fact, they will be way more likely to engage and become a long-term customer.






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Eulogizing a Friend Who’s Time Had Come

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Eulogizing a Friend Who’s Time Had Come

The year was 1990. I was working in mainstream advertising. Shooting commercials for Madison Avenue shops that wound up on Super Bowls, Academy Awards, Olympics, and prime time. There was some prestige, but no accountability. And there was a strange new type of advertising brewing. Long commercials. They were tacky and cheesy, yet captivating. They invited people to call and order unique products they could not get anywhere else.

They were called infomercials.  I snuck out, under cover I thought, to attend a conference at the Mirage in Las Vegas for a group called NIMA. It stood for National Infomercial Marketing Association. I snuck because I did not want my ad agency clients to know I was there. It would somehow tarnish my cool image.

Yet, somehow, I wound up in People magazine. My cover was blown. I was now, whether I liked it or not, part of the infomercial business.

There was a vitality and spark about the NIMA people that didn’t exist with the Madison Avenue crowd. I met all sorts of people and didn’t fully understand what they all did. But I collected hundreds of cards and networked.

And gradually some of those people started to hire me to produce their infomercials. It was exciting and scary because they knew right away how many people were calling and ordering. The immediacy was incredibly exhilarating.

I lived a double life for several years, shooting Madison Avenue spots while sneaking around with the infomercial crowed. I just could not pull myself away from them. It was like driving on the highway and seeing an accident, the blood, not wanting to look, but somehow not able to turn away.

And I always looked forward to those NIMA conferences. I became a member. I went to all the conferences and met more and more amazing people.

We networked on the show floor, in the hallways, in restaurants, in the airports, on the planes. In fact, I met one of my largest clients on a plane coming back from a conference. It was fantastic. I worked with famous actors and models, musicians, circus animals, athletes, Doctors, and tons of real people who testified through affidavit that the product they used changed their lives forever and ever.

NIMA changed their name to ERA (Electronic Retailing Association) and added more conferences. Miami. Vegas. Washington. Europe.

At one point, just after 9/11 in NYC, in a moment of reckoning, I abandoned Madison Avenue and went full throttle into the client direct business. ERA became my best friend. Most of my business came directly through ERA functions. I volunteered for committees, became part of a community, people started to know and trust me, and I started to forge life long friendships.

Each year, the ERA dues went up and up. Membership started declining. The shows seemed more and more empty. People did business in suites, in other hotels, bars, many never even came to the host hotel.  It all crumbled.

I began to feel my dues were more like a charity contribution. And if I really wanted to contribute to a charity, I would send to St. Jude, not ERA.

So, with much guilt, I stopped paying dues in 2017. I saw no value proposition and was receiving nothing in return. And apparently I was not the only one.

I watched my dear friend ERA die a slow and excruciating death, until its final breath on June 1st, 2018, the day I received an email that ERA was no more. That ERA could not continue operating “in the face of declining dues receipts, fewer sponsorships and an overall shortage of revenue coupled with burdensome expenses”.


With terminal illness, you know that death will come; yet when it does, it is still a shock. 28 years of friendship. Now death. So final. So sad.

ERA failed to keep up with the times. Failed to serve all their members, just focusing on the top few big spenders. Failed to incorporate new technologies and new ways of selling into the equation. They lost their relevance, ran out of oxygen and died.

So, as I mourn my good friend of 28 years, I reflect on the good memories, the friends and colleagues, the career that I would not have, had I not befriended ERA. But let’s keep alive the community and camaraderie that was forged through ERA. And let’s do this as an industry together.

Perhaps this death, as many deaths do, will even bring us closer together as an industry.

Good by, old friend. Eternal thanks.  I will miss you.

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By Ava Seavey, Queen Bee, Avalanche Creative Service, Inc.

The world is now a place filled with unlimited messaging and barraging of ads and content outdoors, online, in print, on the radio and on TV. The average person is hit with literally thousands of messages daily. How is it possible to grab attention, create emotion, and create interest?

Being bold and fearless in your creativity is a start. It is something that has been debated by the brand world and the world of DRTV and brand response for decades. But the interesting fact is that the brand and DRTV have blended, so that there is very little that differentiates them, other than the immediacy and urgency of DRTV and the way that media is purchased.

Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube are the ultimate direct response marketing vehicles. The opportunity to speak directly to prospects and customers on a personalized level has never been greater. Yet, mediocrity abounds in all medium, a desire for sameness, and a hesitancy to stand out.

Creativity does not need to be a dramatic shot of someone dangling from a mountaintop, an arty and stunning, exotic visual, a cheap shot at humor, or an effects filled voyage into fantasy. Creativity can be subtle and powerful, with meaning and purpose. The turn of a phrase, a compelling offer, donations to special causes, something just a bit different, but most of all, humanity. Compelling someone to pay attention because you’ve struck a chord in their head, their heart, or their soul, and they can relate. And they identify.

Creativity can be found whether it is a Facebook ad, a blog post, a subject line in an email campaign, or a super bowl ad. It can be found everywhere, in every nook and cranny. In every form of media, either digital or traditional. Give them content; don’t just ask them to buy something. Give them value. Give them something to believe in.

Push the envelope and create something unexpected. Something that makes someone smile, think, or feel alive, is what drives our modern communication. Too often we get caught up in data, analytics and formulas, and we forget that we are communicating with human beings that can think, feel, laugh, weep and be inspired.

To think out of the box is risky. It makes people afraid. It tests the boundaries of their belief systems and of everything they thought was comfortable and proper.

To not think out of the box is far riskier. To risk being invisible is a far greater risk.

Stand up. Speak up. Take risks. You might strike out, but you tried. Babe Ruth struck out a lot as he broke records hitting home runs. If you can get up to the plate, take that big swing.

Ava Seavey is president of Avalanche Creative Services, Inc., a creative shop that produces TV, radio, print and digital advertising.

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I’m posting like crazy on Facebook, so why is no one seeing my posts and why am I not selling any products?

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I’m posting like crazy on Facebook, so why is no one seeing my posts and why am I not selling any products?

For any serious marketers, being on social media and engaging with customers is mandatory in this digital age, like it or not.

The consumer journey now involves so many different touch points and interacting with customers has never been more crucial than it is on Facebook, where comments are visible when prospects are exploring your brand.

But, hold your horses. You are paying a fortune to people to post engaging content on Facebook and you are getting likes and comments, but few people are seeing it and no one is buying. Why?

There is a difference between advertising and PR. PR Is great for brand awareness, but it won’t sell product. Organic posting on Facebook is more like PR. However, advertising on Facebook is a whole different ball game.

Facebook’s organic reach has been steadily in decline since 2013 at least, with the average organic post reaching less than 2% of fans who have liked the page. This is intentional on Facebook’s part in order to encourage advertising.

Placing ads on Facebook will guarantee that your content is seen, not only by fans, but by prospects as well. And an ad can ask for the order and give compelling reasons to do so, the way it is in traditional media.

Whether you are simply boosting posts or have a more complex ad campaign, buying advertising is a more sure fired way to get you seen than designing campaigns to create engagement.

Both advertising and PR can work together (organic and paid ads), but to just expect sales from organic posts and hoping that something may go “viral” is not a strategy that will work for many brands, especially those on a budget.

Now with Facebook’s recent announcement that it will cut back dramatically on marketer’s posts, your content will be seen even less. And they have even warned about tactics to encourage comments to posts to get better rankings will be cracked down on and discouraged. So what is a marketer to do?

Buy ads on Facebook. Direct selling on Facebook through ads has been a sure fire way to get leads and sales and it will continue to be a great source of revenue. And those organic posts for marketers? They just may be going the way of the Betamax.

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If digital marketing is all the rage, why are all the top global digital brands advertising on TV?

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If digital marketing is all the rage, why are all the top global digital brands advertising on TV?

We’ve all heard the predictions. DRTV is dead. Infomercials are dead. TV advertising in general is dead. It’s all about social media, digital spends and Amazon.

So why are advertising spends in traditional TV growing instead of shrinking? And why is Amazon, Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Microsoft growing their spends on TV? In fact, some of them are spending more than 50% of their ad budgets on TV!

The answer? TV is engaging, entertaining, and informative. And TV is still mass. Getting your brand out there on TV produces a power like no other. And TV has a halo effect for all other media.

Spend away on Amazon, Facebook, Google, but if you are not on TV, you will miss a big opportunity to share your story, and connect with your audience using real emotion, which is hard to beat in other media. Also, good luck slugging it out with those increasing digital spends and the click fraud, bots and crazy attribution mazes.

The infomercial and DRTV approach may seem old fashioned to some, but for products or services that require explanation, demonstration or emotion, there is nothing better than television to get that point across. Whether it is a: 30 brand message or a half hour infomercial, the power of television is not going anywhere. Just ask Amazon, who spent more money on TV in 2016 than Wal-Mart.

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What can the Game of Thrones teach us about DRTV and performance based marketing?

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What can the Game of Thrones teach us about DRTV and performance based marketing?

Some may well ask what on earth could Westeros possibly have in common with a Snuggie? How in Essos could a dashing Stark possibly have anything in common with a lowly infomercial? And well you may ask.

As marketers, it is our job to form a correlation between a cultural phenomenon (such as the rabid popularity of Game of Thrones) and how we can learn what it can teach us about reaching consumers. So I pose the following as some things to learn.

  1. People clamor for what is scarce. Limited time is a huge word that pulls in a big way. Game of Thrones has a limited number of episodes in this season so therefore people feel they must watch every second of every episode. Same can be said of products and services. A limited time offer works because people will want to get in on it while it lasts and will feel that they have missed out of they don’t take advantage of whatever is special. Witness flash sales online, which, in essence, took their cue from the infomercial world to create the scarcity and limited time purchasing. Same thing for Prime Day. People waited to purchase on Amazon until Prime Day so they didn’t miss out on the deals.
  2. Heroic and classic music can captivate an audience. Even the millennials with the most sophisticated pallet for contemporary music admit they love the music in Game of Thrones. Perhaps infomercials and DRTV spots could up the game musically and not just have “elevator music” in their advertising. Music can set a tone, a mood, create an emotional pull, so why not use that as part of the overall tactic to sway a consumer and help create an impetus to buy?
  3. Good vs. evil. In Game of Thrones, people are rooting for good against evil (at least most people). They are very tied into the story and want the good guys to win. We can use this in advertising where our hero product or service vanquishes the evil competitors or other modes of solving a problem. Rooting for the good guy or even the underdog is something that can win over a customer.
  4. Game of Thrones draws viewers into a fantasy world. It’s all made up but yet all so very real. The best products and services marketed directly to the consumer have a bit of an element of fantasy. The consumer fantasizes about how they can look, how they can feel, there is an element of imagination and wanting to believe. Help them in their fantasy. Educate them to believe in a better way, a different way, believe in possibilities.


So, take it from this Dragon lady, there is always something to be learned in advertising from popular culture. But just don’t try the full frontal nudity in your ads, as I don’t think the FTC would be too keen on allowing that.

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