DRTV Anatomy: What Makes a Spot Effective?

We’re often asked by prospective clients, “What are the rules for doing DRTV?”

The fact is, there really aren’t any. Every client has a unique brand personality, different objectives, and specific desired results, so there’s no one way to achieve them. However, there are definite guidelines we use to create an effective DRTV spot.

And of course, it’s knowing which guidelines to use and when to use them that makes for a strong spot, be it a stand-alone spot or as part of a broad-reaching media mix.Let’s talk through some of the traits a DRTV spot must have to work its magic, so to speak: engaging, informative and compelling.

CLIENT: SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio

This is a spot we created for SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio. Our objective: overcome the target’s perception the product was inaccessible and irrelevant to their lifestyle and get them to try it for 30 days.




Premise introduced early. It’s a good idea to get right to it. This spot’s premise: why settle for just a little bit of radio when you can have so much more?

Stand up presenter. Often used when there’s a complex or meaty story to tell. A presenter on a simple background allows you to show graphics or supers that help support the message.

This doesn’t mean the presenter has to be serious or dryly spout the copy points. Quite the contrary. Our presenter is engaging and witty and helps capture, and hold, the viewer’s attention. He gets us nodding our heads and takes us step-by-step through the story.



Specific information and support points. Often why clients choose longer format versus shorter length spots. You can say a lot more. The benefits of Sirius XM – their specialty stations, endless sports, exclusivity with Howard Stern Radio – are spelled out and help persuade the viewer why this is worth considering.

The “lower third.” This is a good place to keep the phone number, logo, URL and a simple call to action prominent through the whole spot.


Free trial. Sirius invited viewers to try their service FREE for 30 days.

No commitmentNice way to encourage action, “Hey, you’ve got nothing to lose, why not give it a try?”

Free gift. In this case, a cool baseball cap. A smart way to increase urgency (if you call right now). Could be the tipping point that gets viewers to go for it.

Call to action. Good to repeat two or even three times. After all, we’re trying to get viewers to act – make a call or go online, for example.

Strong wrap up. A concise summary of all the good information we’ve given.