11th October 2007

Feeding off Aspiring Companies

Our recent press release resulted in some nice media coverage and interest. It also led some not-so-interesting requests.

The show was called Living in Style and the production company is East Shore Productions. According to them they contacted us to incorporate Essentia into one of their shows. Sounds interesting right?

Not so interesting when you see these examples:

Large broadcast corporation logos such as NBC, FOX, BET, ESPN2, A&E and Discovery etc are on their website.

They requested a small payment which was meant to demonstrate “our commitment” which we have elected to ignore.

They neglected to mention the show felt like an infomercial :-s

No thank you “Living in Style” 😉

This article has 45 comments

  1. J Bass

    Did you think that Living in Style was for real or another TV infomercial company.

  2. jason

    We thought it was an actual show, not a show composed of infomercials. Their approach was misleading. The shows seem to be well done. It just wasn’t right for us.

  3. Donna

    I was just contacted by East Shore Productions and the commitment fee is $5,900.00. I wasn’t very impressed with the web site and thought I’d do some more research on them. I’m glad I found your site…

  4. James

    In the marketing world, this is called “pay for play”. If informercials weren’t so damn effective, they would not be on air. Ask QVC! The market is huge. Also, just so I make this thorough, $6000 is a drop in the bucket compared to what it takes to buy aire time and produce a 20min production piece with so many moving parts. Those “Bam” or “Oxy-Clean” infomercials are $20,000. So consider this a deal. And, they air 20 times during a season with over 75 contracted stations. Since you get to keep the montage, that is worth it, as you can use the montage forever. Good luck in trying to get your product on the TV any other way.

  5. Joel

    TV is dead James. online mediums are the future. You’re better off taking the $6 grand and making your own (longer than 2 min.) video and posting online via your own website or youtube. This way, you control the content and the audience.

  6. R.G.Parrish

    It isn’t so much a scam and is still a good advertising opportunity. It is the way they go about things. They call and make you think you hit it big and then drop the ball. It is disapointing! They should consider an up front approach with the possibility of a sale instead of turning off the customer by making them feel uncomfortable. They may still get a sale in the future when the customer is more financially prepared. Let’s not forget that late night infomercials still make millionaires.

  7. Keith Evans

    They called me too, sounded exciting to be on a TV show, but the salesperson did not know anything about my product. Strange, but she wanted to feature me for only 115 seconds? At $5900 I advised her the cost was WAY too high because she could not easily provide samples of video, explain who and what they are, as well as give me current SATISFIED customers!

    I did not mind the informercial approach, but her demographic and geographic coverage on about 200 areas on the Ion network was not good for our product.

    Thank you Essential Direct, Google, and the power of the web!

  8. Carlos

    I did buisness with them and they were straight up front about the dollars$$$. I have done plenty of marketing on the web and tv and $6,900 dollars for a Holiday Show on the ION network airing 20 times over 80 million household reach and they do all the production and hire the talant, and I can still keep the video segment and upload it on the web for additional exposure, WAS GREAT!!!! They even pay GOOGLE to have them pop up first.. just check it out…go to GOOGLE and under the VIDEO portion type “Living in Style” and you will see for your self…many videos have been seen over 30K times within a year. That is smart pay for play….GReat investment… and they are not paid placement… TV guide showed them as “Living in Style”. I was very satisfied because I had done my homework before hand..and all my expectations were clear… sorry for you guys…

  9. Jonie

    BTW- Carlos is an idiot. If you could “pay Google to pop up first,” it’d destroy google. You simply can’t buy top listings in organic searches. It doesn’t work that way.
    OF COURSE if you Google “living in style” in Google video, you’ll see lots of their customers/victims. The question is who on earth googles “living in style”? Do your customers? Mine don’t.
    The first result I saw when I did what Carlos said was “White Wizard toys.” The video it linked to had 13 viewings (not 30k) as of today. (I imagine about 10 of those viewings came from people doing what I just did while researching.)
    Now do a Google video search for “white wizard.” I don’t see their video on the first two pages.
    I suspect a few of the posters here, including Carlos, are employees of “living in style.” Which makes them actually living with sleaze.

  10. Sam

    Listen to Jonie, she is right on the money. Anyone who clandestinely promotes their service like these guys do is doing it for a reason…and it is not good for you. I received about 5 calls from these clowns, each one a little more staged and better prepared. News organizations do not charge money to feature good ideas!

  11. Ann

    Thank you all. I’ve been contacted yet again – and seem to have amnesia about these people. I appreciate the reminder.

  12. Suckered

    Here’s my story: I was contacted by Living In Style. I (like a fool) did not check into the company or ask for names of past clients. Desperate for advertising I handed them my $6 K. They filmed my company and told me the show would air on ION or “I”. Funny thing is, I never saw the show air and none of my friends in the viewing area saw it. So I contacted ION and they replied by letter: “We regret to inform you that you show Living In Style, episode @@ never aired on our network”. I too was never told the show was an infomercial and was also told the show airs on programs like Discovery and Fox, etc. on the phone when the producer first contacted me. I am presently looking into where my 6K went…..

  13. April

    These people called me today and I didn’t know what to think. I just put out a press release for my small business on Tuesday, so I thought that this might have been something good! Boy and I glad that I found this site and know to duck any and all calles from these people!

  14. Organic Skin Care Online

    I signed the contract and then changed my mind (I know dumb) but they are going to take legal action if we don’t hand over the money. I guess we are stuck but I sure wish I had read this before I jump into this. Has anyone else tried to get our of this agreement?
    Thanks for your information.

  15. James J

    Hi there,
    I just received a call from these guys and was initially interested as we had just put out a press release on Tuesday. Initially I was interested as I thought this would be great exposure to be on TV and that my press release was working.
    The $5,900 “scheduling fee” was a surprise and red flags were suddenly raised as soon as I was told that I needed to get them a signed agreement by 4pm on Monday (today is Friday). I was also a bit concerned that they would not provide me with any references until the paperwork was signed, stating that they did not want to “overload their” references with calls from prospective clients.
    I had a look at their website and while they do have high calibre production quality they essentially produce infomercials. I understand that infomercials can be effective, but the lack of clear information on where my “spot” would be featured is a bit of a problem. Just stating that I could be viewed in 80 million homes sounds nice, but I can buy a classified ad on Facebook and I “could be seen by 150 million members”.
    What I don’t like about this company is that they mislead you into thinking you are on the verge of “stardom” whereas they are only producing infomercials and who knows when and where your show will appear. The “rush “ to get you sign paper work is ridiculous- as they are attempting to play off your emotions and lock you into a deal before you can properly research them. This type of approach devalues the company and gives creates will only proceed in giving them the “scammer” label.
    Jonie makes a number of excellent points in his/her email as do a number of other posters. Admittedly I excited about the prospect of being on TV but really needed to pull back and get my emotions in check and do some serious research on who and what this company is all about and what could I expect from the a potential investment.
    After having time to think things through and reading over the posts I am giving these guys a two big thumbs down – for the misleading sales pitch and the attempt to get you to “BUY NOW” or miss out on our next episode approach. Secondly, it is worthwhile stating again as one poster put it “ real media outlets do not ask for money”, I have been interviewed before by a channel that appeared on the Canadian Network – CityTV (http://www.citytv.com/) for an AIDS benefit fashion show I produced years ago and I did not have to pay a “scheduling fee”
    Finally while we all love TV the web is the medium of choice and where things are going. I have to agree with Jonie in that Carlos sounds like he works for these guys – paying to pop up first on google, what are you trying to say they do pay per click advertising which anyone can do for considerably less than $5,900 and secondly you do not pay for organic listings. Jonie’s point was even more powerful about the search who the hell is going to google “living in style tv” just so they can find your company that sells widgets?
    And Carlos why are you not including the link to your website if it was such a GREAT investment? Saying you don’t want to be bothered for references is not really an acceptable excuse either as a link on this form would mean more exposure to your business.
    To Suckered and Organic Skin Care Online – THANK YOU and I sincerely mean thank you for sharing your story and I wish you both the best in terms of rectifying the situation with these guys. Sharing your stories on this form will hopefully help a lot of people. We all make bad decisions , I know I have made my share, but the fact that you are taking time to share your experience will help a number of people in the future.

  16. Tarzan

    We are yet another business who was contacted by this company. We recently put out a press release, like everyone else who has posted here.

    Funny thing is, we don’t sell any products or services on our site! It’s a blog about my wife’s pregnancy journey.

    Before I did some research here, I called them back and left a message on the producer’s voice mail. I’m glad I found this as I already know what I’m going to say.

    However, I am interested in hearing their pitch on how they would do an informercial for a blog that has no products or services to offer. Huh.

    Thanks for saving me time everyone.

  17. Sara

    Just got a message on my voice mail from a guy at L.I.S, was excited for this opportunity and googled it before the call back. Thank you for this info, very useful and saved me much time and false hopes!

  18. rob

    LIS contacted me and I was elated, but then the $5,900 fee came up and I knew it was a scam, or perhaps better put – not what they advertised.I can find a much more valuable use of my marketing money.

  19. Randy

    I too was contacted by these guys shortly after a press release. There are better ways to market.

  20. Kat

    My company was contacted by this so called “tv show” today. The man I spoke with presented himself as if he worked for a legitimate tv show, not an infomercial. It’s not that infomercials are necessarily bad, what’s bad is that the company completely misrepresents itself.

    Oh well, what goes around comes around.

    This blog is an excellent source for information. I’m glad I found it, though I can’t image I would have ever gave these guys $6,000 in the first place.

  21. Louri Kay

    Hi ! I work on the show and I am proud of the show. Many companies that I have done projects with have called back to be on the show again(many big companies). I am sure most companies that have posted here were contacted in research only to see if it would be a good story or not .NO ONE can send money and be in the show….. and we do NOT sale product so we are not an infomercial…We air on ION network and have affidavit’s to prove it.WE air in the day time and reach over 80,000,000. homes…If you ever get on T.V. show free and want to own footage later it will cost you way more than 5,900$ . Fortune 500 have been on the show many times and I am glad that a small start up has the same chance as the big companies… realize most negative posts here are by people who haven’t been on the show… SO this after 5 years is the only thing negative about us some show one airing has ton of negative blogs… JUST THINK

  22. Roy Garcia

    I was contacted today by Raymond at Living in Style. He pitched the show as a “Health” program for the upcoming Christmas Holiday season.

    He said they had researched my company, http://www.CrabtreeHandbags.com, and said it was a unique way to sell my products…which he didn’t really know anything about. Also, he said we were in the “running” with other companies, and if we “won” we could appear in thousands of households.

    Then he came up with the $5,900 fee and our line went dead..literally! I was in a bad spot and lost contact, but I’m sure he took it as me hanging up on him!

    I’m grateful for this blog, as this is the second Florida-based company to reach out to me with a large upfront fee. The other is Home Shopping Group. While researching this other company, I found past clients who were not associated with them anymore and who did not recommend them.

    Also, if Louri Kay works for L.I.S., they need to retrain their employees in basic grammar. And, if “many big companies” are happy with them enough to return a second time, who are they? Give them a plug, which is the whole idea of all of this!

    Thanks to all who take the time to help others on this blog.

  23. Paul

    Great post – very helpful, since they just contacted me. I won’t bother responding. 😉

  24. Julie

    Really appreciate all these comments – I got the same call yesterday from “joseph” after a press release on a new product went out last week. He pitched the “holiday” shopping series as well. I’ve been harassed by other “florida” production companies that operate in sleaze fashion and did a quick google search to check legitimacy of ‘living in style’…. and found this site. I also , will not bother calling this person back!

  25. SolidNav

    Scam….these guys have called for about a year. We have legitimate media sources that have interviewed and printed our stuff, stay away from these guys, they do not behave like Robb Report or wired.

  26. Kylene

    Very glad I found this site. A ‘producer’ is supposed to be calling me in a few minutes. Like others, our property inspection franchise recently did a press release regarding sources of home energy loss. Initially, the man who first called seemed legit, claiming they needed content for an upcoming segment on home safety concerns and they were interested in a radon expert. Then the ‘scheduling fee’ was brought up and so were the red flags, which prompted this search and me finding this site. Thank you again to all who have taken time to share their experiences.

  27. Raymond

    This message is in response to Roy’s post. First, we produce many segments on many different topics so if you are selling handbags and I mentioned something on health it is obvious I had my segment information mixed, what can I say I am a very busy person don’t tell me you’ve never had your information crossed in the past. Second, I would never and have never said that you or anyone else has ever “won” anything otherwise why would I mention the money, which by the way, does not even cover the cost of our phone bill. I call companies we feel have a genuine product that can help our viewers and you can only be on the show if you are selected based on many factors in order to protect the integrity of the show. Nobody is buying in to be on the show. If you are looking for free publicity it is usually like everything else that is free, not worth much. We have a 100% money back guarantee because we stand behind our show unlike many companies I deal with on a daily basis. Last thing I want to mention is the reason for the money is to ensure you keep up with our deadlines and schedules because we only deal with owners and presidents who are always busy and would never adhere to our time line unless there was something vested in the project. The people that post negative comments here do it because they were hoping to advertise their products but when told of the scheduling fee, UP FRONT I might add, got mad and this is the only way to take out their frustrations for either not having the funds to be on TV or unwilling to take a shot at promoting the very thing that is putting food on their tables. Instead trying to take the food from mine. The only reason you are grateful for this Blog is because it did allow you an opportunity to place your link on it for free, so I hope you are happy now please get a life.

  28. Sam

    You mean a no follow link Ray? Yes that’s gonna go far.

    If you present it as a show you are doing and want some stories then why the $$$?
    Aren’t you doing it for your audience?

    My voice mail does not say” hey we want to do an infomercial for you @$5900″
    Instead it’s “we are doing a special on blah blah and we would like to feature your products” That’s being straight and upfront. I guess that means different things to different people.
    Thanks for the posts folks!

  29. Patricia Butler

    I’ve been pursued by these folks as well and I asked point blank if this was an info-mercial. She just read from a script and knew nothing at all about my firm and how we use video exchanges online to teach. It’s an innovative way to learn and she lead me to believe they were doing “a segment” on education. I’m trying to find the show airing somewhere!

  30. Remy

    How is this a rip off when the company provides a quality product for a minimal price? If the participants were unhappy with the result, they wouldn’t post their segment on uTube, their website, etc. Besides, check out ripoffreport.com and see if there are any complaints about the company or show. Any educated well-versed person knows that nothing is free. The company gives you legal rights to your segment to post ever. It is just too bad that a company has to use creative ways to get people to listen to the breadth of their offering.

  31. Josh

    Here is the problem…

    Most of the companies that I found on youtube or in a search that bought into this company were small. They aren’t familiar with how major media works.

    If a major news organization, lifestyle show etc… wants to feature you, they will not ask for payment. Free product for the visual yes, but they need the content and won’t charge you for it.

    Now, I can see a company that may want some national exposure thinking this is a great Idea, and for those not experienced with video production, the “infomercial” looks ok. But the business practices are what you have to watch out for.

    See, I got called and the person calling had no idea what my company did or how we could use their service.

    #2 – Having worked in television briefly, I asked a few basic tech questions like the type of camera…film…etc. If I was actually speaking to a “producer” they would know this basic info. So after my questions went unanswered, it’s pretty clear that I was speaking to a salesperson.

    #3 – RUSHING! HUGE red flag! I got a call from the guy maybe 15 minutes after I got sent a media kit. I was told that he’d only be there for another hour. and to let him know because they are under a huge time crunch of 30 days. Seriously? if you look at the examples online, those videos take MAYBE a day to shoot the host and edit the footage… let’s be on the generous side and give them a week…they would still have 3 left.

    Basically, if it sounds kind of shady…it usually is.

  32. Lisa

    I was just contacted by “Living in Style” Before I called them back I wanted to first check out the company. I’m so glad I found your website and all these great comments. I am just a small start up company dippycups.com and based on what I’ve read here, I think I will steer clear of “Living in Style” for now. I believe they are cold calling new exhibitors form the All Baby and Child Show held in Las Vegas in September. My friend, who also exhibited, got a solicitation from them as well and passed.

    Wishing you all success and happiness in pursuit of your dreams.

  33. Tracy

    The company appears to be very consistent. I issued my press release on Tuesday and received a call on Wednesday. Did I want to be considered in a Holiday Segment (A Little Indulgence sells Girls Holiday Dresses). It would only cost $5900.

    I was able to discern that it was an infomercial but the difference from QVC or HSN is the Living in Style didn’t require any upfront merchandise. That was my red flag as the others require significant merchandise upfront to handle all the orders generated from the segment. (FYI…QVC and HSN only pay you for all the merchandise that you provide as it sells.) Thanks again for your post. Forewarned is the best situation to be in.

  34. Todd

    We also received a phone call, shortly after a press release. Luckily I did not even waste time on the phone, other than to take a name and a number. Basically it goes we have researched your company http://www.ckybooks.com we see you have a great site to sell used books. Would you be interested in being featured in a holiday segment? I did not bother to even ask questions, I informed him I would research their reputation online and get back with them if we were interested. We get calls and emails similar to this weekly.

  35. whitnie

    Thanks for you post. You saved us a lot of work. I susptected something was up!

  36. Utaitaiyo

    Receive the pitch today to a release we moved on the PR Web service. Based on other sites and comments, it appears these are hot ticket items to them right now. I have been releasing news on all the wires this month alone, but the only one that convinced them to call was the PR Web one.

    Also, as the content is not owned by my company when I participate, I don’t think it is a worthwhile investment. If I am going to spend that much time and money to provide them the content they will need to make the video, I expect to keep it when I am done. Sure they “license” it back to us, but we were the ones that paid for it anyway with our “scheduling fee” that doesn’t actually guarantee us a spot on any one network, just “any or all of” networks as stated in the contract. That means they could just air it once on PAX or ION (which I certainly don’t watch and don’t know anyone that does) and their end of the contract is fulfilled.

    Amazing that the pitch hasn’t changed in 3 years!

  37. Rachel

    Thanks for posting this. I received a v-mail from them today, hours after I sent out a press release. Coincidentally, Living in Style just happened to be producing a segment in my small niche market. Uh huh. First thing I did was google the area code. Florida set out red flags. Then I googled the show and saw your post immediately. Thanks for saving me the headache of returning their call.

    I’m sure this might be a worthwhile endeavor for some people but it’s definitely not right for me. Also very glad I used a Google phone number on my press release!

  38. Anonymous

    I just received a call from them also. They saw our press release and called the phone number (Google Voice). I checked out the site and the videos look very professional. The caller was very pleasant but the red flags went up as soon as she mentioned the scheduling fee. Maybe what they offer works for some people. I had never heard of them before, but after reading this blog, especially the comment from Organic Skin Care Online. I think I will pass.

  39. ric

    I got called from Living in style next day. After I release my news thru PR web on wed. I did warning them by first if it is fake or scam. I am going to contact lawyer.. They kept say they wont disappear after i pay them up. I check site and look professional. I did sign it and plan to do this week for segment, script,etc. They are going to send me documents for questionnaire and ask something to answer. I thought it was real business. Now i decide to research more and find out many negatives.. I glad that i didn’t give them money yet. I have to letting them know that i want TEAR CONTRACT period and never deal with them at all.

  40. Like Duh!

    Carlos is on the Living in Style payroll….

  41. still laughing

    “Funny thing is, we don’t sell any products or services on our site! It’s a blog about my wife’s pregnancy journey.”

  42. Cherlene

    My company was foolish enough to fall for the Living in Style pitch. We paid them a lot of money and received not a single order let alone inquiry from the shows. We do not believe the shows actually aired. It has been 3 months and they have yet to send us the promised affidavits that are supposed to prove they aired.
    We now have a lawyer working on our behalf.
    DO NOT work with Living in Style – learn from our mistakes!

  43. Bill H.

    OK when you get a call from a “producer” twice in the last few weeks regarding your business that has been shut down for over 3 years, YOU KNOW IT IS A SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM >>>>>>>DID I MENTION it is a SCAM.

    They had my name and number on file from about 4 years ago when we did the same press release etc…called about a holiday show etc….BE WARNED, just trying to take your cash, plain and simple.

    All the posters telling you otherwise are the con artists at LIVING IN BULL#$%^&

    You can’t make this crap up, a show on a company that doesn’t exist…..you should have heard her rave about my company……oh really miss producer? Do you people need any more proof than this?

  44. Olive

    James obviously works for Living in Style. Complete waste of money if you ask me. PR is “free” on respectible shows.

  45. Jack88

    There’s a lot of trash and erroneous information on this page, people being quite unfair and expecting too much for too little. Someone wrote they don’t ask for product samples upfront. That’s not correct. One of the first things we had to do was to send in pristine samples of our products. Furthermore, $5900 is a tremendous bargain for an informercial on nationwide TV, and what else can you call a sales pitch on TV than an informercial? What are you people complaining about? What do you want for $5900? So to call this a “scam” is ludicrous and a perverted usage of the word. In 2004 our company actually DID an informercial with another production company. It was poorly done, a total flop, and it cost us $30,000!!! You guys are bitching for nothing.

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