Best Practices for DRTV Creative

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Same As It Ever Was.

A whole lot about television has changed. Definition, delivery, content. But when it comes to creating Direct Response Television advertising, the Song Remains The Same. (Tangential Quiz: identify the two musical references in the previous text. No Googling.)

DRTV is still all about getting someone to do something when they see your ad. Something more than a smile, or a laugh, or a nod. Crafting a compelling, response-generating message is harder than it sounds. Even when you have a full two minutes to deliver it.

Here are four keys to creating successful DRTV commercials.

1. Establish The Proposition. If halfway through the message your audience is still trying to figure out what you're talking about, you're toast. Instead of building to a big reveal, as is the case with most branding ads, clearly present your brand's proposition at the outset.

2. Build Value. Your potential customer starts as simply a viewer. Don't assume that they'll see the inherent value in what you're offering. You need to give them a good reason to take their time to respond to your commercial. From the very first second, begin to build value so that, when you ask them to take action, you've made it worth their while. Which reminds me...

3. Ask For The Response. Never assume everyone wants to come to your party. Don't just extend an invitation - make sure to clearly state, more than once, that you'd really like them to come to your party, where it is, how to get there, and what to bring. Don't be apologetic. Make sure you clearly explain how to respond, and then remind them again. Don't be shy. (But don't be a jerk.)

4. Clarity. Don't muddy up your message with fanciful language. (This, too, is harder than it sounds.) I like Walt Whitman as much as the next guy, but if you expect me to make the effort to decipher a beautifully worded, somewhat perplexing sentence during a commercial interruption of my guilty-pleasure TV viewing, you're likely to be disappointed. Related: if it sounds like lawyer-speak, better to just leave it out altogether.

A successful DRTV spot needs to be structured properly, it needs to build to the sale, and it needs to leave nothing to the imagination. In this bold new world of mind-blowing media breakthroughs, the basic principles of DRTV are still as relevant as ever; you can see them at work in ads on Facebook, YouTube, and digital video. In other words, not an oldie, but rather, a classic.