Philip Kives

Philip Kives, business executive and innovative marketer (born 12 February 1929 near Oungre, SK; died 28 April 2016 in Winnipeg, MB).

Philip Kives, business executive and innovative marketer (born 12 February 1929 near Oungre, SK; died 28 April 2016 in Winnipeg, MB). A farm boy of Turkish Jewish origin, Kives showed a youthful passion for salesmanship. After completing high school, he gravitated into itinerant salesmanship in Winnipeg and at fairs, hawking gadgets as far away as Atlantic City, NJ. In 1962, he returned to Winnipeg to create K-tel International Inc, and used it to sell novelty consumer wares such as the "Veg-O-Matic" food slicer and the "Miracle Brush" lint gatherer. In 1965, a "greatest hits" line of records was added.

K-tel eventually expanded to serve 34 national markets, and in the early 1980s diversified into oil and gas and other ventures, such as films. Kives's success lay in his ability to cut out the middleman, selling directly to the customer by mail and in his "hard-sell" television advertising. Kives excelled in identifying innovative products (eg, "jazzed up" classical melodies played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra). Financial overextension led to receivership in both Canada and the US in 1984. Undeterred, Kives reactivated K-tel in the US and Europe and launched a new company, K-5 Leisure Products, in Canada. By 1987 reorganization of K-tel International had been completed and the company was again profitable. In 1998 it achieved net sales of $85.6 million and launched a web site through which consumers can purchase its products on-line.