Direct Response Advertising Without Celebrities Saves Money And Increases Revenue

E+M Advertising has worked with celebrities, both high and lower profile, for various ad needs. However, while there are benefits in terms of recognition and awareness to featuring a celebrity in advertising, there are negatives that are hard to overcome.

Direct response advertising judges success and failure on the amount of potentials customers who call or go online to respond to the ad. Using celebrities as spokespersons for direct response advertising is different from mainstream agencies. A majority of the products and services using direct response focuses on a need to demonstrate the product while describing product’s benefits. The products advertised need demonstration or sharp focus on the way those items perform and don’t need to use celebrities as talent. Celebrities can take the focus off the product and onto the celebrity. Consumers don’t remember the product, but would recall the celebrity instead, therefore, reducing results of the direct response effort.

advertising Sticky BuddyCelebrity talent is necessary in the skincare and beauty products arena. Among the many celebrities that have lent their talent to the direct response television category include Vanessa Williams and Julianne Hough for ProActiv, Naomi Judd for Esteem and Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty. When these beautiful celebrity women tell a targeted audience that a skincare regime is their secret, then the viewing public says, “sign us up.”

On the flip side, when casting talent for a product like OxiClean, direct response agencies recommended a spokesman like the late Billy Mays or today’s Anthony “Sully” Sullivan. Sully is the consummate pitchman having many very successful promotions under his belt and who understands what it takes to keep the focus on the product and off him. He knows how to make a product perform the way it is supposed to while engaging the viewer in such a way that they want to buy the product.

Another remarkable talent that has appeared in many commercial and infomercial projects is Cathy Mitchell. From cooking on one of the earliest infomercial successes, SnackMaster, to today’s current campaign for the Minden Anytime Grill (, this expert pitchwoman brings the viewer into her kitchen by developing a warm, cozy feeling you get from a friend all while she is cooking what appears to be a number of delicious dishes in what seems like minutes. In the end, buyers must have the product because Cathy shows exactly how it performs and viewers believe and trust her.

The PedEgg is a true direct response success without the use of a celebrity. The PedEgg is a revolutionary foot file and the fastest way to make feet feel smooth and healthy with no mess.

Marketed by TeleBrands beginning in late 2007, the PedEgg is the most successful product in the company’s history with over 45 million units sold to date. Available in every major retailer in the US as well as many countries abroad, the product is a true homerun for a direct response product. What makes it a success is a number of elements. First, the product works exactly as it is demonstrated in the commercial. Second, it retails for only $10 and consumers get a second product as a bonus with online and telephone direct response. Third, the focus of the creative was totally on the product performance —there was no talent, celebrity or otherwise.

The time that consumers have to generate an impulse response is limited; therefore direct response advertising agencies need to entice the buyer to take action. A celebrity spokesperson could inhibit the call to action. Celebrities should only be used for advertising those products or services that need to enhance credibility or require corroboration or validation from a trusted, recognized source.

This guest post has been generously contributed (images and all) by Michael Medico, founder and CEO of E+M Advertising (, a New York City direct response agency focusing on brand development and digital offerings. As a pioneer in media driven marketing, E+M Advertising brings more than 30 years of experience to integrated brand response that efficiently utilizes every media dollar to its fullest potential. E+M Advertising employs brand response skill sets across all media, social media, and mobile commerce.

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