Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 28

PILLOW PET TALK

season ended and nearly sold out. She quickly realized there was a definite market for these plush creatures. Direct response television seemed like the next logical step. According to Telfer, “I remember telling my husband, ‘I wonder if this would work on television.’” In 2009, Telfer met Corbin Church, CEO of Miche Bag, to discuss forming a distribution partnership for his line of products. At the time, Miche Bags had just wrapped production on its DR commercial, which was shot by Infomercials Inc. Telfer asked Church if he thought Pillow Pets would sell well on TV as a DR product. To which he replied, “Absolutely,” and urged Telfer to contact the direct response marketing firm. Thus, CJ Products began talks with Infomercials Inc. in March 2009. Telfer adds that she envisioned creating a commercial for the Pillow Pets about a year and a half prior to working with Infomercials Inc. By the time planning on the campaign began, Telfer knew right away she wanted a catchy jingle. “I had compared Pillow Pets to the Chia Pet because everybody knows that jingle. We needed a jingle that would stick when the kids watched it – one that they would be singing all the way home,” she notes. She was also adamant about showing how the pillows popped open and using the most popular styles in the commercial. The DRTV short-form campaign rolled out in September 2009.

The first year it aired on television, Pillow Pets garnered $7 million in sales. Next came retail distribution. Telfer collaborated with Ontel Products in March 2010 to handle the product’s mass retail efforts. That year, in-house revenues jumped to $30 million.
much product as you can make us this year, we will sell. How fast can you get us more product?’” Telfer and her team were completely stunned. The first year it aired on television, Pillow Pets garnered $7 million in sales. Next came retail distribution. Telfer collaborated with Ontel Products in March 2010 to handle the product’s mass retail efforts. That year, in-house revenues jumped to $30 million. Fast-forward to 2011 and sales look even more promising. According to Telfer, “This year, I believe we’ll generate $45 million in just in-house sales alone; that’s not counting the mass retail and not including the royalties we get from the 15 million-plus units that Ontel sells.” As demand for Pillow Pets in retail stores grew, so did the retail partnerships. In addition to Ontel, CJ Products teamed up with Fabrique to handle retail distribution and fulfillment for Sports Pillow Pets. To date, Pillow Pets are sold in big-box retailers such as Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Toys ‘R’ Us. However, Telfer says her company still maintains original accounts with specialty retailers like Hallmark stores, Justice and Amazon. When it comes to their online efforts, Telfer admits, “I think that’s probably become a bigger focus than I had realized when I had started Pillow Pets. Online marketing is definitely the direction for any growing company nowadays.” She adds that consumers rely on the Pillow Pets website not just to buy new products, but to search for discontinued styles as well. Telfer says social media is another channel that plays a huge role in her company’s marketing efforts. She attracts an active following on Facebook and Twitter. “We tend to give a little more focus to Facebook,” she says. “And what’s nice is we’ll send coupon offers to just our Facebook fans, which makes them feel special. I get a lot of feedback so it’s kind of become a focus group for me in developing new styles. I’ll ask my Pillow Pets Facebook fans: What new Pillow Pet do you guys want to see? It’s become a really good platform in helping us develop our brand and new characters.” How does Telfer ensure that Pillow Pets’ brand marketing complements their direct response marketing efforts? Recently, the company enlisted the services of an outside firm to help develop a style guide for the brand and to make certain that when the direct response marketing and brand marketing come together, consumers can clearly identify the brand. “We contacted a company that had actually done Disney’s style guide,” she notes. A style guide instructs a company on what colors to use for logos, how the logos can and cannot be used and generally maintains consistency across the board. “We’ve actually had

A Hit in the Making
Telfer vividly remembers the day she learned Pillow Pets was a huge hit. The commercial began its third week of airing and up until that point, Telfer was the one flying to Infomercial Inc.’s offices to discuss the campaign. However, this time the Infomercials Inc. team flew to San Diego to visit CJ Products. “I thought, ‘We’ve got a whole room of people waiting for us, it must be pretty serious,’” recalls Telfer. “The producer, owner and even the COO came. They sat us down and said, ‘As 28

Going Multichannel
In addition to television, CJ Products has taken a multichannel approach to marketing its beloved Pillow Pets. CJ Products tested the home shopping waters by going on QVC in 2006. “We had 12,000 units, and we almost sold out in our first airing,” explains Telfer. However, due to mass retail and a lower price point, she says home shopping simply wasn’t the right fit.

electronicRETAILER | December 2011



Electronic Retailer - December 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - December 2011

Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Ask the Expert
Pillow Pet Talk
What’s New in SEM?
Canada’s Economy Weathers the Storm
How to Cook Up a Successful Offer
DRTV
Legal
Radio
Member Spotlight
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - cover1
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 3
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 4
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 5
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 6
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Calendar of Events
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Industry Reports
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 10
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 11
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 12
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 13
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - FTC Forum
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 15
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - eMarketer Research
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 17
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - IMS Retail Rankings
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 19
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 21
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 23
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Ask the Expert
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 25
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Pillow Pet Talk
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 27
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 28
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 29
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - What’s New in SEM?
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 31
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 32
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 33
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Canada’s Economy Weathers the Storm
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 35
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 36
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 37
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - How to Cook Up a Successful Offer
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - DRTV
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Legal
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Radio
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 42
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 43
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Member Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 45
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Advertiser Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - 49
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - December 2011 - cover4
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