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Former NBCU Sales Chief to Advise Direct Agency

Former NBC Universal Sales & Marketing chief Keith Turner has been named vice chairman of direct response media agency Mercury Media.

According to a release Tuesday, Mercury Media said Turner would advise the company on how to convert some of the nation's biggest marketers into users of direct response advertising. Mercury Media is based in Marlborough, Ma.

Turner was president of NBC Universal Sales & Marketing between 1998 and 2006. He had oversight of NBCU's broadcast and cable assets alongside digital service iVillage. He joined NBC in 1987 from ad agency Grey Advertising.

Direct response ads are rising in importance for advertisers since they are significantly cheaper than traditional spot buys.

They are less expensive because media sellers give over unsold airtime to direct response advertisers often at the last minute. Direct response ads are defined by inclusion of a phone number or Website where customers can immediately call and buy the product or service.

Mercury Media CEO Ronald Pruett, Jr. said: "General market advertisers are looking for an alternative to traditional advertising, which cannot offer measurable results or immediate feedback as effectively as direct response can."