GT Direct Opens Short-Form Division

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GT Direct has debuted a direct response television short-form division labeled GT Brands.

GT Brands will produce, script and manage two-minute DRTV campaigns for automotive products, fitness products, tools, sporting goods and housewares. The division will create and manufacture proprietary products and partner with start-up companies to market their inventories through DRTV.

"GT Direct launched the division because it saw a void in the new-product area in the short-form arena," said Jeffrey Elson, vice president in charge of GT Brands, New York. This division represents GT Direct's first step into short-form DRTV, he said. The company had focused exclusively on long-form DRTV for celebrity-endorsed products.

"We are going to create or recruit new product and drive it on TV, with the ultimate objective of bringing it to retail," Elson said. The division primarily will market products at price points from $20 to $30, he said. He expects to market DRTV product in national chains such as Wal-Mart, Kmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Elson said that GT Brands will try to market new products at reduced prices by manufacturing them in Chinese facilities. The company has relationships with undisclosed DRTV agents in China to facilitate partnerships with overseas manufacturing plants, he said. GT Brands also will recruit new-product ideas in the Chinese market.

"It's so much cheaper to manufacture in China because of the lower labor rates," Elson said.

GT Brands will pass any products suitable for long-form to its parent company.

"Products will only work on short-form if they can be seen and understood very quickly," Elson said. "All you have is one minute and 45 seconds to get your point across, get people to buy the product and drive it to retail."

GT Brands will outsource telemarketing and fulfillment for its products.

The division will roll out five products in the next six months, Elson said, adding that it is too early to disclose specifics.

Elson previously served six years as vice president of sales and marketing at Emson, New York, a DRTV company producing primarily short-form spots.

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