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How to make a great Direct Response TV advert

How to make a great Direct Response TV advert

By Paul Marchant, founding partner of Trumpet London.

It is worth stating the obvious.  Your TV advertising messages need to be compelling. 

If the benefits of your service are not expressed in a way that makes them irresistible to a consumer, then you will not get the most from your advertising.

Therefore consumer understanding is key.   A strong consumer insight will lead to the best communications proposition and therefore strong advertising. 

Working from a strong consumer understanding we have proved that DRTV does not have to equal cheap looking ‘ambulance chasing’ commercials that are often so formulaic in their treatment.  Our clients’ work and results demonstrates this.

Your advertising treatment needs to meet two main objectives to be successful on completion:

1. Deliver the message clearly and generate response.

2. Provide a memorable creative treatment that will do more than just deliver immediate response on screen.

Your chosen agency should understand the correct positioning of your benefits within the commercial, how best to use voiceover, how the titles are treated, how the call to action is delivered (mention your company name more than once, mention the response mechanism more than once and where possible show the response mechanism) and how the total production is put together.  This will all affect your commercials success.

Any agency or production house should be aware of this and therefore act accordingly. 

It is point ‘two’ above that is often missed or not delivered, as it is the hardest element to get right. This is where a good agency will make the difference.  Your commercial, whilst delivering response, needs an ‘X’ factor to make its impact stronger.

It should deliver results beyond that of its media.  It should stand out within a cluttered market whilst being campaignable with other media if required.  This will all provide a greater platform for success in the future.

The aim for your TV commercials should be to create ‘fame’.   The power of an idea and how it is delivered can change the world.  Put an idea into your advertising – don’t just treat it as an infomercial.   TV audiences want to be engaged. They are advertising savvy and do not enjoy seeing the standard daytime commercials*.

But why don’t all agencies aim for this?

The answer is simple.  Some agencies either don’t have the talent or they are ensuring profit margins are maintained.   A standard DRTV commercial treatment shot in a studio for example is designed to be cheap and ‘loud’.  Why bother attempt a more complicated, higher-end commercial that is more time consuming and generally more expensive, when it eats into profit margins if charged at the same price.

At Trumpet we take a different approach.  We would rather make a stronger, more memorable commercial, as we believe that’s doing our job properly.  We get re-appointed to provide your next campaign and our business grows.  This saves us money on pitch fees which means we don’t have high new business expenses that most agencies have to absorb. 

So the questions to you as a marketeer or business owner:

Which is the better business model?  An agency model that delivers stronger work at less profit? Or weaker work at a higher agency profit margin?  And which agency model is better for clients…. 

(*Research conducted August 2009 into consumer attitudes to TV advertising.)

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