DRTV: Not Just For Shilling Anymore

Scene: co-worker's going away lunch. A guy, I'll call him Ned, is rounding up suckers, er...colleagues, to indulge in something called a Fireball (one would think the name would be warning enough.) Now Ned can sell. It's in his DNA. He coaxes and cajoles, entices, overcomes objections, etc., and the next thing I know a Fireball is on its way down my gullet. It is the most foul thing I have ever imbibed. It ruins the rest of my day; I can't get the taste out of my mouth. I want to punch him.

Stay with me here. My point is this: DRTV can sell, too. Free! Limited Time Offer!! and myriad other phrases followed by exclamation points will make the phone ring and/or the website light up. Absolutely. If that's all you're looking to do, have at it. But you're probably not getting your money's worth.

The scope of DRTV has expanded beyond the quick sale. Done right, even the hardest-hitting DRTV commercial can create a connection with consumers, not just weasel a purchase out of an unwitting viewer. Which is why, more and more, you see DRTV campaigns from Fortune 500 companies using longer length commercials to inform, educate, demonstrate...and sell. Highly targeted ads that appeal to the right audience, in the right place, at the right time. DRTV can create loyal customers who might even tell their friends, or post a positive review online. DRTV can do more than generate a transaction, it can help build brands.

Yes, like Ned, DRTV can sell like crazy. But forget trying to simply shyster your way into a consumer's heart. Because, like the Fireball, it'll probably just leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Mike Powell is Executive Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.