Does DRTV Creative Matter?

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You bet it does!  In an era where measurement tells it like it is, as in all digital venues, a compelling commercial can make the difference whether someone does or does not click or call! Direct response is an encompassing term. It is no longer a term that simply refers to selling widgets on TV, it means whether a consumer directly responds to an offer, whether it is on TV, Internet or Mobile, whether an established brand or a new brand.  In all of these advertising mediums, creative does matter!

So, why then do shoppers for DRTV, or Brand Response commercials, often tend to want to only shop for price instead of experience, when looking for a company to produce the commercial that drives the response? Experience is the teacher. Whether for short-form or long-form programming, producing a winning spot for direct response television (DRTV), that drives a consumer to a call center or to an Internet site, depends on key factors for success.  Just simply knowing the key factors doesn’t help too much in the actual quality of the production. Having the experience, however, of implementing the key factors in producing the spot, does matter.

Research shows that a DRTV short form spot should cost between $36,000 on the low end to $360,000 on the high end. That long form (Infomercial) will cost between $160,000 on the low end and $800,000 on the high end. When a direct response company can fall somewhere in the middle of these estimates and has a long history of success in driving business with compelling creative, this makes for the right formula for the customer.  The experienced company also has the knowledge of media buying, and the relationship with the stations to get the best price on buying the media. When a direct response company has a long history of success in DRTV as well as driving business independently on the Internet to building the landing pages for the TV advertising, this company should be considered to be a good choice for a customer’s success.

The rules of commercial production are as Rick Cesari, who has been in the DR business since the 80s and is the CEO and Founder of Cesari Media, for example, describes as the Anatomy of a Commercial Production, generally include: Draw in your audience; Define the unique selling proposition; Include authentic testimonials and demonstrations; Have a strategic call-to-action; and an Attractive offer.  There are lots of examples online that describe how to produce a compelling spot, but what works, simply is in the heads of those who have done it time and time again, and those who t have been mentored by them. This is demonstrated by the vast data an experienced firm can show. When Cesari does their testing of an offer, for example, they honestly expect it to do well, and have already anticipated changes that may need to be made.  This translates into saving money on re-shooting creative if the initial media spend does not do well, so the potential middle range of spend often becomes well worth it.  The media spend in not having offers work and the re-work of the creative is much more costly.

So does, creative matter?  In a word, yes.  Spend on the front end, don’t over spend, but spend enough so you don’t have to repeat spend or have lots of “do overs” or end up with a campaign that simply doesn’t work.


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