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GROWTH OF BILLION-DOLLAR INDUSTRY: 'NO LONGER A CRAP SHOOT' INFOMERCIAL INDUSTRY MEETS IN LAS VEGAS TO CELEBRATE

 GROWTH OF BILLION-DOLLAR INDUSTRY: 'NO LONGER A CRAP SHOOT'
 INFOMERCIAL INDUSTRY MEETS IN LAS VEGAS TO CELEBRATE
 WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Infomercials, once viewed by some as a fringe player in the high-stakes game of Madison Avenue marketing monte, have 'hit the jackpot' as a $1 billion dollar a year, proven and respected sales tool attracting blue-chip corporate names and changing the odds of American politics in the process, according to the National Infomercial Marketing Association (NIMA). A virtual 'Who's Who' of the industry convenes to celebrate its success, ink new deals and trade war stories in an effort to help each other 'beat the odds' at the Third Annual NIMA Meeting and Trade Exhibition at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Oct. 28 to 30.
 "The infomercial business has been perceived as a wild 'crap shoot,'" recalls Tom Fenton, industry veteran and co-founder of NIMA. "And, there was some truth to that. Certainly, some infomercials have generated 'roulette wheel' type returns. But the players who are still around have always been disciplined, skilled marketers. The attendees at NIMA's annual meeting in Vegas are high rollers, but they're not here to shoot craps. They're here to find out what's going on in this explosive area of marketing and to meet the deal makers who are driving it into its next phase of growth."
 Hundreds of industry insiders, corporate players -- including Avon, TimeLife, Bissell -- and, newcomer ad agencies and their intrigued clients are part of the sell-out crowd for the meeting. Beyond the glitz of The Mirage setting, the nuts and bolts of the business will be discussed in detail at a dozen workshops ranging from 'Infomercials 101, The Basics' and 'Celebrity Talent: Should I or Shouldn't I?" to 'Intellectual Property Rights' and panels bringing the thinking of denizens of blue-chip boardrooms together with the perspectives of the largest informercial companies.
 One very eagerly awaited presentation will be given by Al Eicoff, the direct marketing legend, who will speak to the ways in which direct marketing has historically been used to work with television, as well as his vision of the future. Another well-known player, who will give the keynote speech to the group, is Dave Del Dotto, best-known as 'America's cashflow expert' and the star of the longest-running infomercial on television.
 Las Vegas And Beyond
 According to Greg Renker, co-founder of NIMA, the gambling analogy is irresistible -- but doesn't go far enough. "While there's luck involved, it's luck and a whole lot more that you need to win here," he cautions. "The annual NIMA meeting allows us to radically increase our odds in an ever-higher stakes game. We keep getting smarter about what works and what doesn't. I think that's why the industry is growing at the rate it is: We help each other beat the odds. And, this is where the deals are dealt: You'll see many announcements surrounding this meeting, deals done in hallways, on the tennis courts and at the seminars. It's amazing to watch."
 "While the industry still pays its money and takes its chances, it's not for the faint-hearted," adds Jeffrey Knowles, counsel of NIMA. "We play a very different game -- and one with often times higher stakes -- than most marketers ever do. Viewers spend 30-minutes with us -- you see the most obvious example in Ross Perot's campaign infomercial series. The audience either buys or zaps. We've learned how to keep them interested -- we've earned their attention -- so we don't have to play by the time constraints that govern the 15-second spots or nine- second sound byte. That's the seduction the format holds for the big corporate guns -- Volvo, General Motors, Time/Life -- as well as for politicians and entrepreneurs."
 Infomercial Awards: Of Course
 This year's meeting introduces the industry's answer to the Oscar's and Emmy's, according to Knowles, who hints that Perot's innovative use of the format for a series may well garner a special trophy from the industry. "Whether he wins or losses the election is not the issue for us," he explains. "Perot's use of this format -- and his innovation to present it as a series -- illustrates exactly the strengths of the genre: Time enough to tell a complicated story directly to the American public and let them decide. It's exactly the premise that the industry is based upon."
 The awards, to be presented by Angie Dickinson, were voted by the members of NIMA is secret ballot. They will be announced at the Thursday night Awards Celebration Dinner and Ceremony beginning at 8 p.m.
 -0- 10/21/92
 /CONTACT: Andrew Shane of Newlin Company, Inc., 212-689-0777, for National Infomercial Marketing Association/ CO: National Infomercial Marketing Association ST: District of Columbia IN: PUB SU:


SM-OS -- NY106 -- 3067 10/21/92 16:01 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1992
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