Category: Blog

Use BRTV to Maximise Online Sales


DRTV (Direct Response TV) is often seen as the poor relation of traditional high budget Brand advertising but in the past decade the increased use of online retail has narrowed the gap. This has led to the creation of a low cost TV advertising called BRTV (Brand Response TV).

Increasingly we are making 30sec TV spots to encourage viewers to use their smartphones to visit a website and make a purchase. With BRTV the focus is less on brand name recall and more about driving online traffic.

This style of TV ad qualifies as “direct response” and allows ARM Direct to plan & book TV airtime that costs nearly 50% less – these rate savings help make TV advertising affordable for start-ups to test TV.

BRTV delivers a more effective viewer engagement via the advertisers website and the airtime rate discount minimizes risk and allows first time advertisers to safely test TV.

Our experience is that BRTV can generate over 45% more online responses within 10 minutes of a well made BRTV 30sec spot being transmitted.

Nielsen Research tells us that some 60% of TV viewers watch the box and surf the Internet simultaneously and we find that the multitasking 18-35yr age group react positively to BRTV ads – especially if these are highly creative and slightly quirky – similar to what they like to watch on YouTube.

Younger viewers like to immediately visit a BRTV advertiser’s website and just as importantly share what they’ve found with their friends on Facebook & Twitter & Instagram & Snapchat. Results are even more powerful when the BRTV ad offers a free sample or special discount.

We’re on a mission to make BRTV more affordable and one recent success has been to help a dynamic online company to significantly grow sales of their hero brand.

Founder, Claire Barratt, took to social media to sell her unique customised ClaireaBella bags and Chloe Simms from the hit TV show – The Only Way is Essex – bought one and was “papped” with the photo appearing prominently in a national newspaper. Claire says of that time, “I was bowled over with the immediate response online! A few days later Chloe was also spotted in series 2 of the TV show with her bag and my Twitter timeline went crazy!”

Later that year Claire got in touch with an online gift website called and they were soon collaborating and extending the range further.

Clinton Njie (CEO of ToxicFox) decided to explore whether television advertising was an affordable option and he appointed ARM Direct to make a low-cost stylish 30sec BRTV creative using the catch phrase “carry yourself with style”, featuring 3 young models and fun character animations by Nick Sneath.

For a fixed media budget this was tested on selected UK TV channels and ToxicFox website sales increased significantly with ClaireaBella fast becoming a “must have” bag in the all-important pre-Christmas online sales period. This initial test proved so successful that ToxicFox made further BRTV ads to support their brand on a wider mix of TV channels.

Research ‘TV and Online: better together’ conducted by Thinkbox & IAB, confirms that TV advertising can drive people online in a host of different ways, the benefit being that the smartphone consumer journey is now much shorter and viewers often respond to TV ads as and when they are seen in real time. From their analysis it became apparent that the role of TV in driving online response has been undervalued. Partially, this is due to the huge increase in smartphone ownership.

BRTV campaigns are based on hard facts as the response + sales numbers don’t lie – meaning that results can always be improved month-on-month by cutting out the slow performing TV channels and testing new ones.

Television’s impact on website response + sales all too often slips under the radar but the reality is this:

Making a low-cost highly creative BRTV ad helps drive significant online traffic especially as all BRTV ads shown on TV + social media channels can now instantly be searched, shared and copied adding a whole new dimension to agency accountability.

DRTV Effective Arm Media

DRTV = Effective

DRTV proves an effective choice for advertisers needing an accountable medium

Traditional TV advertising continues to make way for DRTV (Direct Response TV), the offspring that has matured rapidly to take a grown-up share of the UK broadcast TV ad market.

The key benefit driving DRTV’s popularity is its accountability, providing advertisers with detailed customer data that can be analysed to accurately measure the success of a TV campaign.

The main performance indicator for any DRTV campaign is its overall cost-efficiency and return on investment. Having the data-mining tools in place to delve deep into the increasing amount of customer and viewing data is therefore essential to long-term success.

So what are the key steps to analysing DRTV effectively?
(1) Estimate scheduled call volumes

Always obtain scheduled TV spot times before a campaign airs. Ensure the right copy is running, along with correct telephone numbers, and that spots are broadcast as planned throughout campaigns. This information, along with estimated call volumes, is vital to the advertiser’s call centre, so that responses can be handled efficiently.

(2) Obtain detailed DRTV response data

Know what response data is going to be available once the campaign is running and how often it will be supplied. Having an infrequent supply of data leaves little time to revise media plans while a campaign is on air. Be sure to receive exact times of calls in order to match this back to spot times at a later stage.

Collecting details of when qualified respondents called is more useful than simply noting gross call volumes. While a DRTV campaign’s main objective is the ’call to action’ to generate as many cost-effective calls as possible, the quality of respondents is also important. The number of qualified leads can feed back vital creative information, such as the advert’s appeal and whether it contains a clear message. It can also influence future media plans, for example a kid’s channel may be generating a large number of hoax calls and may need to be removed from future plans.

(3) Attribute accurate responses to DRTV spots

Determine how quantifiable the data is. If TV channels have run separate telephone numbers, the response data can be assigned with greater accuracy. Should one ‘golden’ number have been used across multiple TV channels, then a spot-matching methodology is needed to attribute each response to an individual TV spot. The most efficient is a purpose-built software system programmed to do this automatically.

(4) Drill down to your DRTV results

Analyse the response data with BARB viewing figures to determine response rates and costs. The DRTV campaign’s overall response rate and cost-per-response provides a first indication of success. However, successful or not, it is essential to drill down further into the data to establish the accountability of all the TV airtime and plan how future DRTV campaigns can be improved.

Each TV channel’s performance can be judged after responses are spot-matched, but it is also important to analyse other variables, such as days of the week, dayparts (such as peak time), position in breaks and individual TV programmes or programme genres.

Even a cost-efficient and successful TV channel may have poorly performing days or dayparts, which, if removed from future plans, could lead to a lower cost-per-response. Conversely, a TV channel that has not been effective may have certain times which were cost-efficient and the airtime could be restricted to these times in future. All these affect the overall campaign results.

This is why DRTV campaigns should be constantly tested, analysed and refined.
(5) Ensure transparent DRTV airtime costs

An ongoing (and campaign-end) reconciliation of delivered viewing figures versus budgets will give a transparent picture of final TV airtime costs. Reconciled airtime figures will show an over or under-delivery for each TV station, which will help plan spend levels for future DRTV campaigns.

(6) Use return on investment to judge your DRTV campaign success

When planning subsequent DRTV campaigns, use recent response rates to judge each channel’s expected performance. However, it is also important to balance the plan with cost-efficient channels and high volume generators. Response rates are guides, but cost-per-response and ROI are the key performance indicators.

(7) Variable DRTV airtime costs may reduce future efficiencies

When analysing campaign results and planning future budgets, the changeable TV landscape should be considered. A TV channel may not perform successfully month-on-month due to external factors, such as new competing satellite channels launching, programming changes and particularly price changes.

The majority of TV airtime is purchased through CpTs (cost-per-thousand viewers). Each station’s price can fluctuate by month. Therefore, airtime purchased in one campaign may be more expensive by the next. This can have a large bearing on future results and must be taken into consideration when planning future DRTV activity based upon previous results.

ClaireaBella Arm Media direct response ads

10 Important DRTV Rules

DRTV is all about getting:
The Creative Message in the Right Ad Break at the Right Time of Day at the Right Media Price
(1) The DRTV Ad must generate an immediate response

It must be able to grab the viewer’s attention right at the start and sustain interest throughout the commercial. Watching TV is a passive activity. When a DRTV ad is on screen it should demand that the audience take an active role. Picture yourself watching a DRTV ad for a new service or product – now ask yourself what would make you pick up the phone and take action? Persuading the passive viewer to make an instantaneous switch to active consumer is tough. You need to know what you’re trying to say, who you want to reach, and what you want them to do about it.

(2) Express a common need or problem that the target market can relate to

Creating a need and doing this using simple language is the key to a successful DRTV ad. For example if a debt ad persuades viewers that one phone call will solve their problems, it is halfway to getting response. Make the product or service appeal to the individual by depicting situations to which the TV viewer can relate.

(3) Provide the DRTV product / service as the solution to the problem

It would be unusual if there were only a couple of reasons for buying a service or product. Identify the “selling point” that will most persuade TV viewers that the DRTV message may change their lives. If there is a USP always use it to full advantage.

(4) A DRTV ad should always be 60sec with a 30sec cutdown

CH4 TV Response Research confirms that the longer the DRTV ad, the higher the response is likely to be. The best length to get your message across is usually 60sec, however always plan to do a 30sec cutdown from the original footage as this shorter length will allow you to test on the more expensive Terrestrial channels.

Advertisers in the USA and on satellite channels in the UK have had considerable success using the 30minute Infomercial length. This longer format is ideal for selling products that require lengthy demonstrations or explanation allowing the advertiser to present a stronger case as to why the viewer should buy the product/service. Several USA companies have ceased using shorter DRTV ads and are now concentrating their marketing efforts on securing low cost satellite TV airtime so that they can broadcast their half hour Infomercials across Europe.

(5) Overcome scepticism or other objections

Always keep the target audience in mind and address them in a way that is relevant to them. This includes a suitable tone of voice and an understanding of the way in which the audience perceive themselves. For example, an ad aimed at teenagers will not attract its target group if it uses a middle aged cast. Conversely it has been proven that in the 50+ sector TV viewers tend to identify with people that are around 15 years younger.

(6) Make the nature of the DRTV ad immediately clear

DRTV combines sight & sound so make sure the selling point of the DRTV ad is credible. If an ad lacks sincerity or conviction, then the viewer will not be convinced either. Any confusing language or captions are fatal where the aim is to achieve maximum response. The style of DRTV ads does not mean that you have to stretch credibility as this only brings the cynic out in the viewer.

(7) Always add an 0800 Freephone number within 5secs of the start

The benefits of using a freephone 0800 number are obvious. Viewers are more inclined to call the number on the DRTV ad because they have nothing to lose. Make sure your DRTV ad follows the tried tested rule of placing the number prominently on the screen within 5secs of the start. The longer the number is on screen the higher the response will be.

(8) Use DRTV to clearly demonstrate the product or service

Many companies already use DRTV to promote products that benefit from visual demonstrations. These include vacuum cleaners, kitchen equipment, exercise machines, even colour contact lenses. When promoting a product or even a service don’t leave anything to the viewers imagination – demonstrate the benefits clearly.

(9) Use compelling captions to support the dialogue

Don’t drown the call to action or the audible repeating of the 0800 number with loud music or sound effects. Also, always use legible and persuasive captions that match the dialogue exactly. For a DRTV ad especially, the soundtrack and captions should enhance the main aim of the ad, which is to persuade people to call, not entertain them.

(10) Finally, don’t forget to ask the DRTV viewer to call…!

The End Frame containing the all-important call-to-action captions should never be less than 10secs on screen.

DRTV viewers need to be reminded to write the number or the URL down even if these have been up in the main body of the DRTV ad for much longer. Also, if possible always try to offer something for FREE (free call – free information pack – free gift – free bonus – saves you money). Something extra that encourages viewers to make the call now!

Arm Media DRTV in Europe

DRTV in Europe

What is the size of the DRTV market in Europe?

The European Union has been with us for over 50 years and what started out as a treaty between 6 founding countries now includes 28 member states with a total population of circa 511 million until the UK’s BREXIT vote in 2016. Together these countries account for less than 22% of the worlds population, however their combined economies produce an impressive 37% of the global GDP and they own more than 32% of the worlds telephone lines making Europe the ideal target for DRTV andHome Shopping.

DRTV, of course, is not a new TV advertising concept. It has been successfully used as an advertising medium in America since the mid 1950s. The real boost for DRTV came with the availability of freephone numbers, and the advent of credit cards as the preferred means of payment. According to Teledirect Magazine, 68% of all US TV commercials now carry a telephone number or URL, and this figure rises to around 87% after 10pm.

Western Europe only embraced DRTV in the mid 80’s, however it is estimated that TV shopping revenues in the EU are likely to grow to circa 6.4billion Euros by 2012.

Which countries in Europe are consumers more receptive to DRTV than others?

Many DRTV advertisers thought the expansion of the EU would open up new and profitable markets. Consumers in Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy, Ireland, Spain and UK have populations that like using their televisions for all manner of home shopping. Interestingly these West European countries have the most call centres per head of population.

East European countries also want to buy innovative DRTV products but the logistics (lack of call centres and credit card usage) in those countries will continue to throw up challenges meaning that DRTV operations might take several years before they deliver acceptable sales and ROI. An upside, however, is that advertisers can test DRTV for a much lower entry cost in these countries and DRTV sales are predicted to forge ahead of their less progressive neighbours.

Another country where DRTV is growing fast is Poland.

The cost of both DRTV & Infomercial airtime is very competitive (when compared to the USA) however the British, Germans & Dutch have always been inclined to buy products offered in US style creatives. An added advantage in the UK is that TV audience levels can be tracked using BARB (Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board) making media planning & buying TV airtime more accurate than any other country in Europe.

To highlight just how much the UK (population 64 million) has embraced tele-shopping there are more than twice as many home shopping styled TV channels in the UK than in Germany (population 84 million). In summary, Britain continues to be the best performing DRTV market in Europe.

If considering DRTV in Europe will you be able to monitor & track results accurately?

ARM Direct recognised several years ago that the best way to help all our DRTV clients keep ahead of their competitors was to guarantee them the ability to accurately track & analyse every TV channel’s performance on a daily basis.

Are there differences in the way DRTV operates in Europe compared to USA?

Many already successful USA DRTV advertisers assume that what they have done one side of the Atlantic can automatically be repeated on the other. The challenge is to learn from and then develop each individual European market finding ways to target the desired audience at the lowest cost-per-response. Smaller audience numbers, as most advertisers in the USA are fully aware, are not necessarily a problem in the direct response arena. What matters is the equation between the cost of the airtime and the number of sales or leads generated.

An experienced DRTV media buyer with expert knowledge of the European market can identify the type of audience demographics required for a particular product or service and negotiate airtime accordingly to generate the maximum response.

The UK and Germany have the most DRTV media avails in Europe – mainly driven by the sheer number of digital satellite & cable channels in those countries. The UK has the most Infomercial and home shopping airtime and our recommendation is to test DRTV in the UK first and then Germany, Holland and Belgium.

How do you find the right DRTV Creative & Media Agency partners?

It is important for Direct Response companies to find the right partners from day one. Each European country presents its own set of challenges and it is therefore essential to seek out a successful London based DRTV creative & media agency like ARM Direct.

Do infomercials Arm Media

Do Infomercials Work?

Do Infomercials really work in the UK?

The use of American made Infomercials is something that UK TV audiences have only just got used to seeing on their screens over the last 3-4 years. However, the global marketing policy of “One World, One Ad” has often failed internationally.

Pepsi’s “Come Alive with Pepsi” was translated into one Asiatic language as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead”. And Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” first hit China as “Eat Your Fingers Off”. There will always be challenges testing DRTV & Infomercial products and launching USA products in the UK is no exception. However, the fact that something has worked well in the US gives most European DRTV players confidence that there is a good chance the same product will work well over here.

UK marketers have often marvelled at how buying off the TV screen has matured into very big business in the USA. QVC were the trailblazers in the UK (launching in October 1993) and their popular “live” show format is still regarded as the perfect balance between entertainment and hard sell reaching 95% of UK Cable homes and 100% of Satellite homes. Their success in Britain spawned several smaller “live” home shopping channels but these have never become serious challengers and some have already shut down.

QVC UK has outmanoeuvred and outsold all of these newcomers maintaining their dominance from a fairly small demographic group – typically older female viewers. Home Shopping in the UK has never really managed to excite younger TV viewers – but this is about to change.

Growth of Transactional TV Channels

What UK marketers have discovered however, is that the longer half-hour show format is ideal for targeting a broader social-economic demographic. The continued growth of TV channels in the UK offering 3 hours per day of home shopping is said to be generating revenues in excess of £483 million per year.

A Director of London based ARM Direct comments, “What the Americans have known for a long time is that ‘the more you tell, the more you sell’. They understand the simple rule that the longer you can talk to a prospect, the greater the chance of a sale. British marketers have taken a while to learn that one of the great strengths of long-form is that TV viewers actually choose to watch an Infomercial because they are attracted to it while channel surfing. Once hooked they tend to stay with the show”.

Do US Infomercials transfer to the UK?

At present about 18 Infomercial product categories are on UK TV screens. These include Audio & Video, Automotive, Beauty & Wellness, DIY, Food & Beverages, Jewellery & Watches, Home & Garden, Electronics & Computers, Collectibles, Health & Fitness, Multi-Media and Gifts.

The danger, however, for US advertisers lies in assuming that what they can do on one side of the Atlantic can be automatically repeated on the other. FDA Approval doesn’t mean a thing to Clearcast (British Advertising Clearance Centre). All Infomercials must comply with the UK’s stringent TV Broadcasting Rules.

For instance, nudity is accepted in France but would never be allowed in the UK. Sometimes whole product categories are banned. For example it’s still not possible to use Infomercials to sell dietary or vitamin supplement products in the UK.

It’s also not possible to use Doctors, Dentists or anyone else claiming to be in the medical profession in an Infomercial or DRTV ad to endorse your products. Selling to children is also highly regulated and all Testimonials have to be authentic and backed up by signed declarations.

Getting UK Infomercial Compliance

Less controversial product categories like fitness, housewares, collectibles, music & videos plus cleaning products tend to be the strongest sellers. Even so, several US sourced health & fitness Infomercials have recently had to be taken off air in the UK due to non-compliance issues as well as over enthusiastic testimonial content.

Specialist DRTV agencies such as ARM Direct help clients to navigate their way through UK broadcast regulations and also to lobby for changes within the TV industry with a view to helping the public have even more home shopping choice on their screens.

ARM Direct’s Head of Teleshopping says “Over the years I’ve often been approached by companies wanting to run their Infomercials here in the UK and compliance has often been the main stumbling block. It’s not much good making a great Infomercial in the USA only then to find you cannot run it in an English language market like the UK simply because you were not aware of this country’s Clearcast broadcast compliance issues”.

UK Infomercial Success

Until recently only a few TV channels in the UK were able to sell long-form airtime avails. That’s all changed and ARM Direct now offer longform airtime on over 40 TV channels.

Predicting the UK’s Infomercial Future

Although Infomercials are only now becoming more familiar to many UK TV viewers, the future is looking very positive.

The days when US sourced Infomercials were either ignored or ridiculed by mainstream UK marketers are just about over. Writing about European DRTV trends for Response in 2001 ARM Direct predicted that US styled Infomercials would become common place on UK TV screens. It’s taken several years for this to come about but these new home shopping channels are now very much part of the UK’s TV landscape. Annual sales are climbing, the quality of the creative production is improving and all we need now are better products.

The real test for the UK will be how long it takes for the bigger and better known Brands to wake up to the power of the half-hour show. Companies in the Insurance and Financial sectors are already considering long-form advertising and this will encourage others to examine this proven format. The downside for the product advertisers is that once Brands get involved the airtime rates will very likely go up as these advertisers are willing to pay higher airtime rates.

On the more positive side the UK’s Infomercial revolution is certainly destined to help both new and established Direct Marketing & established Brands to even greater success in Britain and we now look forward to seeing more innovative products and services on our TV screens.

BRTV Arm Media Commercials


BRTV – The right low-cost strategy
Brand Advertising with the strengths of Direct Response

DRTV (Direct Response TV) is often seen as the poor relation of traditional high budget Brand advertising but in the past 5 years the increased use of the internet by consumers has narrowed the gap. This has recently led to the creation of a new low cost genre of TV advertising called BRTV (Brand Response TV). These are 30-second spots that promote a URL to drive viewers with tablets or smartphones to visit a website and make a purchase. With BRTV the focus is less on name recall and more about driving online traffic. This type of ad qualifies as “direct response” and allows the clients’ media agency to purchase airtime that can cost as much as 50% less than fixed-position brand inventory in which a guaranteed TV audience level is purchased. With BRTV there is usually a more effective viewer engagement via the advertisers website and this more than makes up the difference in spend levels. Additionally, the airtime discount minimizes risk and allows first time advertisers to safely test TV.

BRTV increases traffic to your website

At ARM Direct our experience is that a hefty 20% of additional online response is generated within 10 minutes of a well made BRTV spot being transmitted. Nielsen tells us that some 60% of television viewers watch the box and surf the Internet simultaneously and we find that the multitasking 18-35yr age group react positively to BRTV ads – especially if these are highly creative and slightly edgy. Younger viewers especially are happy to immediately visit a BRTV advertiser’s website and just as importantly share what they’ve found with their friends on Facebook & Twitter. Results are even more powerful when the BRTV ad offers a free sample or special discount.

BRTV success story on a small budget

We’re on a mission to make BRTV more affordable in the UK and one of our recent successes has been to help a dynamic young online company to significantly grow sales of their hero brand.

Founder, Claire Barratt, took to social media in 2011 to sell her unique customised ClaireaBella bags and Chloe Simms from the hit TV show – The Only Way is Essex – bought one and was “papped” with the photo appearing prominently in a national newspaper. Claire says of that time, “I was bowled over with the immediate response online! A few days later Chloe was also spotted in series 2 of the TV show with her bag and my Twitter timeline went crazy!”

Later that year Claire got in touch with an online gift website called and they were soon collaborating and extending the range further.

Clinton Njie (CEO of ToxicFox) decided to explore whether television was an affordable option and in September 2012 he appointed ARM Direct to make a stylish 30sec BRTV creative using the catch phrase “carry yourself with style”, featuring 3 young models and fun character animations by Nick Sneath. For a modest media budget this was tested on selected UK TV channels and ToxicFox website sales increased significantly with ClaireaBella fast becoming a “must have” bag in the all-important pre-Christmas online sales period. This initial test proved so successful that ToxicFox are now rolling out a February 2013 campaign and plan to make further BRTV ads to support their brand later in the year.

Low-cost BRTV Ads drive viewers online Research ‘TV and Online: better together’ conducted by Thinkbox & IAB, confirms that TV advertising can drive people online in a host of ways, the benefit being that the smartphone consumer journey is now much shorter and viewers often respond to TV ads as and when they are seen in real time. From their analysis it became apparent that the role of TV in driving online response has been undervalued. Partially, this is down to the fast changing technological landscape and the huge increase in smartphone ownership. Plus BRTV campaigns are based on hard facts as the response numbers don’t lie – meaning that results can always be improved month-on-month by cutting out the slow performing TV channels and testing others.

Television’s impact on website response all too often slips under the radar but the reality is this; making a low-cost highly creative BRTV ad can help drive significant online traffic especially as all BRTV ads shown on broadcast channels can now instantly be searched, shared and copied adding a whole new dimension to agency accountability. At ARM Direct we welcome this new challenge.

TV Works Arm Media

TV Works Every Time

Can I reach the Right TV Audience?

Proven over many years TV offers advertisers the best methods for measuring audience demographics plus tracking the age, sex, status and the interests of viewers watching specific programmes on selected TV channels.

This valuable data allows you to target specific audiences for your TV campaigns, whether it’s kids, teenagers, young housewives or active 60+ oldies. This allows you to develop a TV media buying strategy for reaching exactly the right target market at an agreed budget for the lowest cost possible. In addition to selecting the best audience for your product or service message, there is also geographical targeting to suit your geographical location if you are in retail or to substantially increase your online website traffic.

How much does Making a TV Ad Cost?

Generally speaking all TV advertising budgets are a split between the airtime cost and the cost of making the TV ad. The good news for advertisers considering TV is that the cost of making a TV ad is now substantially less than it was 10 years ago. ARM Direct has made several very successful DRTV ads for as little as £4,500 for a USA financial services company that wanted to test the UK market but the final cost depends on what the client wants to achieve. On average many of the highly successful DRTV ads we make cost between £15k up to £40k and this includes all stages to project completion with the DRTV ad approved by Clearcast ready to be broadcast. We do not recommend using celebrity artists and voice overs as this adds massively to the costs and there are always plenty of talented artists who are more than happy to work hard for modest buy-out fees.

Fundamentals of a Good DRTV Ad?

ARM Direct has been responsible for several of the UK’s most successful DRTV campaigns and over the years we’ve always stuck to the basic, core principles that we know help our clients to succeed first time, every time. The DRTV ad creative style must inform & persuade and have immediate appeal to the target audience. Because watching DRTV is a passive activity the DRTV ad must grab the viewer’s attention right at the start and sustain interest throughout the commercial and persuade people to either pick up the phone or take action on their smartphone or iPad and go online to your website. Persuading a “passive viewer” to make an instantaneous switch to “active consumer” is what ARM Direct is very good at achieving.

ARM Direct’s Production Manager comments, “Ideally you should know what you’re trying to say, who you want to reach, and what you want them to do about it. Creating a need and doing this using simple visuals & language is often the key to a successful DRTV ad. For example if a debt ad persuades viewers that one phone call will solve their problems, it’s halfway to getting a “good” response and converting the lead to actual business. Make the product or service appeal to the individual by depicting situations to which the TV viewer can relate”.

What is the Best DRTV Ad Length?

In the UK all airtime costs are based on a 30 second commercial length and this format is used by almost all Brand advertisers. Some might even use 10 or 20 second length ads but this is disproportionately more expensive in terms of airtime media buying cost and should be avoided by DRTV advertisers who need to always get the best ROI from their campaigns. In our experience using a 30 second length can work really well if you’re trying to increase website traffic by only featuring the URL in the ad. If, however, you’re selling a more complex service (eg. Pension or Home Equity Release) then you’ll definitely need a 60 second length to include all the product’s unique features & benefits.

In the UK every TV ad must be submitted to Clearcast who check the content and make sure the message is “honest & truthful”. ARM Direct has worked closely with Clearcast since 1990 and we can guide you on all the script & production stages to ensure your DRTV ad is approved for broadcast.

Is DRTV More Accountable?

DRTV advertising is probably one of the most accountable of all creative options as every viewing must generate a lead or make a sale. The TV industry uses detailed audience research to measure minute-by-minute viewing figures and when you add into the mix a DRTV ad which features an 0800 number + URL it becomes wholly accountable – something you can’t say about a general Brand ad.

If you’re considering DRTV or currently running a campaign on a limited budget then let us fine-tune what you’re doing and we guarantee to generate better results for you. After nearly 30 years of DRTV airtime buying & creative experience our accumulated multi-level media knowledge could really make all the difference to your business and ROI.

Are Direct New Infomercial

How to make Successful Infomercials

The most important factor for the success of any infomercial is the time that you take to talk about the product. The more time viewers spend with the commercial message, the more likely they are to buy. The more you tell, the more you sell. The longer they watch, the longer you’re in a relationship, and the greater the chances of closing the sale. While time is the greatest asset you have working for you—right out of the gate—with infomercials, it is the complex set of creative elements that fill that time that makes or breaks your program. Your creative determines how much time your viewer gives to your message.

Infomercial Creative “To Do” List:
1. Create a sense of urgency to buy.

Although you have a decent period of viewing time, you must remember that you have only seconds to attract viewers at any point during the infomercial. Tried and trusted “Order-Now Motivators” are old tricks of the trade, though certainly not effective for all products. Some classics in infomercials include, “If you call now you’ll receive a special bonus!” or “Two for one! or “Special bonus!” They might not work for your product, but they’re a good place to start. And, remember, whatever you offer, you must deliver on any promises. If that’s not possible leave it out.

2. Establish presentation and product credibility.

Whatever the product, it’s important to remember that an infomercial’s success is based on credibility. It is a purchasing decision that is emotionally sparked but rationally concluded. Infomercial creatives need to attract viewer attention through entertaining and well-paced story lines or information. Once attracted, prospective buyers must trust in the quality and promise of the product being sold.

3. Use a true believer as the commercial spokesperson.

After the quality and benefits of each specific product, the presenter is most critical to the success of the majority of infomercials today. A powerful on-camera product presenter can absolutely make the difference between success or failure. The only way to increase the power of that presenter is if he or she has used the product and believes in it. That combination of professional skill and personal conviction—the real true believer—will produce a powerful statement for your product and its benefits. Again, however, use this approach only if it’s right for your product.

4. Product is king.

Don’t stray too far from the all-important product. All your copy should tie back to product features, benefits, and uses. Identify the primary buying motivator: love (self-esteem, vanity), security (power, fear of loss), acquisition (greed, wealth), pleasure (pain relief, entertainment).

5. Showcase an irresistible offer.

Surprise them. Build value. Give them more than they expected. But wait, there’s more! (You don’t have to say it, but do it in what you’re offering.) People love a bargain. Bonuses, premiums, discounts, coupons. “Free” is the strongest word in direct marketing. But don’t give them too much; it’s confusing and damages credibility. (Why are they giving me so much? What’s the catch?) During the scripting, I encourage my writers to compile their list of hooks, content points, and key selling words, phrases, and images. Every product has unique properties that are critical to the essence of communicating the product’s benefits.

6. Emphasize information/content over entertainment.

Don’t over-entertain and under-sell. The entertainment factor should never take the viewers so totally away from their real world that it hampers their ability to make a rational decision to buy. People order when logic justifies an immediate response. Too much entertainment distracts them from making a logical decision.

7. Pacing is everything.

It’s a perfect marriage of sight and sound: benefits, features, uses, success stories, credibility builders, expert testimony, research, guarantees, offer details, call to action. Repeat the cycle three times. Once short line, then a broad paragraph. Seven-second sound bites, 15-second voice-over. Sell the benefits. Tell a joke. It’s not only what you say, but also when you say it. If you crowd the viewers, back off. Inhale; exhale.
Keep viewers interested, pleasingly off balance, anticipating. Be unpredictable, yet believable. Pace it. Rhythmically move between on-camera spokesperson, cover footage, brief testimonial inserts, appropriate digital video effects. Spice with music when appropriate.

8. Create a high perceived-value for the product.

The strength of direct-response television has always been its positioning as a personal—not universal—message to the television viewer. Infomercials take the time to outline specific solutions to individual’s problems. You know your target audience well. Surprise them. Offer an attractive premium-something for nothing, easy payments, discounts on upsell or cross-sell products. Give a little and get a lot back. Your relationship with your customer will be off to a great start.

9. Mention the product name whenever possible—at least three times a minute.

Much like in-person sales, where your goal is to use the prospect’s name three times in the first 30 seconds, make sure you repeat the product name over and over again. For example, Braun’s hand-held blender infomercial must include the words: Braun’s superior quality, world-class Braun products, Braun’s renowned craftsmanship, and so on. There’s power in names.

10. Complete a full sales cycle before doing your call to action.

Capture their Attention, create Interest, instill Desire, and finally motive them to Action (AIDA). When you’ve done your work of establishing a relationship with the viewer, building credibility, and demonstrating the product benefits, you’ve earned the right to give price, payment terms, and to ask them to call now! If you ask for the order too soon you aren’t respecting the viewer’s right to information before making a buying decision. You’ll lose the sale.

11. Call to action (CTA). The CTA closes the AIDA cycle and the sale.

They are the commercials within the infomercial, inserted three times throughout the program. In the call to action, review all the highlights of your product, then urge viewers to call. Recreate a miniature experience of the emotions you evoked in the show body. Refresh viewer’s memories just before you ask them to order. Display the number on the screen for as much of the time as possible. Keep the mailing address up for twice the time it takes to read. Preferably, the announcer should state the number and mailing address a minimum of two times. Payment terms, credit cards, COD, and guarantee policy should also be visible on the tag page and stated, if time allows. Showcase the installment price, if it’s a multi-pay offer, but be sure to graphically show the full-payment price.

12. Make it easy to understand.

Paint word pictures. Good documentary writers know this rule well. Use 25-word paragraphs, seven-second sound bites. Use colourful adjectives. No million-dollar words. The ear listens while the eyes watch, and the combined experience is infinitely more powerful if you don’t state the obvious—that which the eyes are seeing. Your audio track is married to, yet separate from, the video. Be specific, not general. Use photo captions, subheads and on-TV-screen support graphics. Simple offer, simple order graphic page.

13. Choose excellent talent.

Often a personality, celebrity, or non-celebrity will be intimately connected to a product. The talent might be a major product asset: either the spokesperson knows the product pitch better than anyone, a lot of money has already been spent on associating the product with the specific celebrity.
Infomercial talent is the individual who must create a relationship with the home viewer within the length of the informercial! That’s incredibly valuable time, which we entrust to a celebrity to achieve a positive relationship with viewers and gain their trust. We buy from people we like.
In the past many celebrities wouldn’t touch infomercials. Recently it appears that the tide is turning. Celebrities are useful in infomercials for two reasons: First, their appearance on screen will stop the remote control long enough (two to 10 seconds) to capture their interest. Second, they give credibility to the product. If your product presenter doesn’t have vivid personality, and/or your product or company name is not a household word, consider using a celebrity.

14. Craft a script that emphasizes benefits and answers objections.

Writing an infomercial is like having a long conversation with a mute person who can’t respond except with his or her dialing finger. You must anticipate the viewer’s every response to your ongoing monologue. You must anticipate and answer the objections that will typically arise. And you must get them to agree with your common-sense statements as often as possible. The more they agree, the more they’re in a relationship. Remove their doubts—with a smile. Move them from fear and skepticism to trust. Be credible. Use expert testimonials and endorsements. Be honest, sincere, and genuine. Tell them why they need your product now, why the price is a great value, and why they should get it from you. Sell the sizzle. Folks want to know the benefits—what the product can do for them.

15. Sell the benefits; close with emotion.

Emotion will always win out over intellect. Don’t ever ask, “What do you think?” Instead ask, “How do you feel?” Use emotional, evocative language and visual images. Be enthusiastic and passionate. Inspire excitement. Be entertaining and humorous (within reason). Create the emotions that they will feel when using your product. Give them a taste and they will want it all. Let them know you like them. Logic justifies, but emotion buys.

16. Be powerful and real.

Your purpose is to motivate immediate action. You want the viewer to pick up the phone and order right now or go to a local retail outlet now. Communicate your enthusiasm for the product. Don’t let the sale happen; make it happen.

17. Use quality product shots.

It seems basic, but the perceived quality of your featured product depends greatly on what it looks like on the infomercial. Make sure the colors are bright, edges are sharp, and the product is angled for just the right presentation. The best scriptwriting in the world can’t override a lousy product image on screen.

18. Create graphics and montage that make sense.

Support your strongest images with simple on-screen graphics where appropriate. Avoid obscure imagery that can sidetrack your viewer’s attention from your message. The quality and variety of computer-generated special effects these days is enticing, especially for the computer graphic artist. Stick to your theme and remember your audience. Use montage (quick cutting of images), as old as filmmaking, and still effective. It always holds attention. But don’t think you have to do it MTV-style (50 to 300 cuts per minute!). Slower is okay. Again use crisp graphics that enhance, rather than detract from, your message. Use bullet points to graphically list your benefits.

19. Employ affecting music.

Use background music to emotionally communicate your message. Make it fit what you’re selling. The music accompanying a talk show format infomercial on beauty tips would likely be soft and soothing, not at all like the upbeat score used for an exercise video.
Then, of course, there’s the music for an infomercial for music products. In this case, the most critical creative element in music infomercials is the music track itself. When marketing music CDs and cassettes, the maxim is: let the music do the selling. While visual components help, it’s the music that sells music products on infomercials.

20. Present gripping and real testimonials.

Quality testimonials can boost response by 20 to 50 percent. They should be real people, real product-users, and truly interviewed, not scripted. Photos and video of potential testimonials and product experts should be gathered during pre-production to determine the strength of the product’s testimonial component. Testimonials are not required for success, but if you’ve got ’em, use ’em. Testimonials talk directly to the viewer, not the masses. Give viewers testimonials they can relate to. They, too, must be true believer spokespersons. Great testimonials create immediate response. Very few infomercials have achieved success without them.

21. Generate high emotional appeal.

Nobody turns the channel when a real-life infomercial testimonial-giver is crying. Poignancy sells better than any emotion. Happiness (ecstasy, joy, fulfillment) is second on the bestseller list. Then humor. The emotional infomercial will always outsell the dry. It’s empathy at work. Viewers can’t help it. And if they emphasize, they’re connected. You’ve created a relationship. This is a classic advertising technique. Create a dialogue with your customers. Get them involved. Demonstrate the product. Give them a sample and they’ll want it all. Appeal to their five senses and you appeal to their emotions.

22. Emphasize the “magical transformation.”

Weight loss products, cosmetics, kitchen gadgets—they all transform something. Incorporate before-and-after photos. The more dramatic the change, the better. Customers don’t want our products-only what they can do for them. They want the profits, not the mutual fund; they want the compliments and approving looks, not the skin cream. The product isn’t really king; what it does for the customers is king. Give them the dream, the magical transformation. State the before, but give them the after.

23. Ask for the order.

Earn the right to ask for the order, but don’t be shy. There’s a right time and place. Everybody dislikes salespeople who haven’t earned the right to ask for the order.

24. Remember to sell all the time.

No moment or element of the script should have any purpose other than to sell your product.

Creating the Creative:
Creative Briefs

Crafting the creative brief is a critical stage. Simply put, this stage determines your entire infomercial’s positioning, format, look, and feel. Your success or failure is incubated here. Give it the time it requires. During the creative brief phase, your writer and researcher should first gather existing resources—advertising materials, marketing research, demographic studies, pre-existing video footage, testimonial files, expert opinion, celebrities or talent already associated with the product—all your product assets—to thoroughly understand the product’s history. Second, a clearly defined unique selling proposition (USP) needs to be carefully crafted and a demographic target decided upon. Remember, only 30 percent of TV viewers are DRTV shoppers. Are enough of your product’s demo targets among those? If not, then your offer may change from a one-step, direct product sale to a lead-generator intended to drive retail. At this stage, someone should be making testimonial pre-interview calls. The results of all your research should be summarized in the creative brief document. Allow a minimum of one to two weeks for this all-important phase. Well begun is half done.

Concepts and Treatments

Infomercial concept development is not nearly as creative or freewheeling as image-spot conceptualizing. In the midst of the television commercial clutter, makers of image TV advertising have unfortunately reduced their marketing goals to impact, impression, frequency, and recall. This method of persuasion and motivation does work for delayed purchasing of product, but lacks accountability. And because it plays more on a viewer’s emotions (read “entertaining”) rather than their intellects, it has a wider field of creative concepts and images to play in. Infomercials have to play more by the rules. Budget, image, format, talent, testimonials, and product characteristics all need analysis before determining concept and treatment.

Offer Scripting

Script the call to action (CTA) first, then script the show body to synchronize with the offer. Not vice versa. The offer is not an afterthought! It’s the most critical part of your infomercial—when the viewer is asked to make a decision. It’s an exercise in clarity. You’ll discover how you need to describe and place the product benefits and features in condensed time. And remember, the consumer needs to understand the logic of ordering your product.

Visual Grabbers.

Beautiful, startling visuals get attention.

Problem and Solution.

This is a classic opening for DRTV spots. State a common problem and then tell viewers you have a solution. They’ll watch to discover it.

Be Personal.

Talk to the individual. Use “you,” not “him/her/them.” Testimonials may look like the viewer or, better yet, the viewer may aspire to look like them.

Tell a Story.

Stories take time and command people’s attention from beginning to end. This is why storymercials work—for a longer infomercials. It’s problem/solution, again. Or conflict and resolution in three acts. People seek resolution and happy endings. But stories can also be told by hosts, talk-show guests, product presenters, and testimonials. Testimonial features (two- to four-minute real-life stories) are very effective.

Show the Process.

The mind is curious. People love watching a process of making or changing anything. Just remember, professionally presented process peaks and retains interest.

Ask Questions.

If you ask a question viewers are naturally wondering about at that moment, they’ll wait for the answer.

Present a Challenge.

For example, lighting a car hood on fire. The viewer’s response is, “Oh, my! What’s going to happen?” Of course, there are many more sophisticated ways to do this.

Use a “Holder.”

Promise people a great deal up front—something free, perhaps, if they’ll stick around until the end of the commercial. Tacky tactic, but it works.


You’re structuring four audio/video tracks: visuals, voice-overs, on-camera spokespeople/testimonials/actors, and music. How you pace these tracks proves your mastery of the infomercial symphony. Surprise people again. Don’t drone on. Keep your dialogue snappy, your voice-overs and testimonial cuts brief (maximum 15 to 20 seconds). Cut/cut/dissolve. Again, remember AIDA: Get attention, create interest, then desire, then motivate them to action. Move it.

Present the Dream.

Give viewers a beautiful image of their lives transformed after using the product.

Be Specific.

It’s easier to write in generalities; but generalities don’t sell. Work harder and be specific. Similarly, it’s easier to write long-winded explanations than it is to be precise and to the point. Cut the extra words and get down to essential selling points.

Don’t Try This:

To help make sure your infomercial succeeds, here are some pointers on what not to do in your infomercial creative:

1. Don’t just create a general topic information program and then throw two or three DRTV commercials into it. You must sell benefits all the time. For example, don’t do a talk show about all types of insurance. Talk specifically about the insurance you’re selling.

2. Don’t think that a celebrity spokesperson guarantees success. It doesn’t. In a recent survey, 57 percent of infomercial customers said their purchase was not influenced by celebrity endorsements. Remember: the offer and the copy rule supreme.

3. Don’t try to entertain too much. Sure, make it glitzy, fun, exciting, and fast paced—but you’re selling all the while.

4. Don’t sell more than one product in your infomercial. It won’t work.

Although it may seem logical that you can adequately explain several products in the length of the informercial, 12 years of failed multiple-product infomercial tests have proven otherwise. Why? Give consumers multiple choices or multiple sales messages and, (1) the impact of each message is weakened, plus (2) response drops dramatically. (Of course, 30-second-spot clutter has created the same problem for years.)
You’ll get sales from a multiple-product infomercial– you just won’t get as many direct television sales per minute. This again demonstrates the power of time. For every minute you spend selling the same product in an infomercial, your response rates rise exponentially, not arithmetically.
There are exceptions. If your strategy is to drive retail sales and direct television sales are less important, a multiple-product infomercial could be the most economical decision.

Problem Solving Checklist:
  • Long-term success in selling stems from answering one basic question: What need does this individual have that I have the capability to fulfill?
  • Infomercials give you one ultimate advantage: Time. The more you tell, the more you sell.
  • The creative brief stage determines your entire infomercial’s positioning, format, look, and feel.
  • Budget, image, format, talent, testimonials, and product characteristics all need analysis before determining concept and treatment.
  • Employ the AIDA formula: create attention, interest, desire, and action.
  • When it’s appropriate to the product, use a true believer as the commercial spokesperson.
  • Script the call to action (CTA) first; then script the show body to synchronize with the offer.
  • Logic justifies, emotion buys.
  • Balance entertainment with information and credibility.
  • Always say, “Call now!”
  • Remember the “eight movements of the symphony”: selling cycles, benefits, features, uses, credibility, guarantees, offer details, call to action.
  • Product is king.
  • Give creative the time it takes.
  • Stop the channel surfers by catching their interest at any point in your infomercial.
  • Balance entertainment and information so that neither overshadows the other.
  • Direct testimonials to your viewers, up close and personal, one on one.
  • Don’t let the sale happen, make it happen.
  • Review product benefits during the CTA for at least one minute.
  • Pace your infomercial appropriately.
  • A product offer pitched by the right celebrity can mean a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in response.
  • State the offer details verbally and clearly to encourage direct sales and avoid inquiry calls.
  • Use premiums and bonuses whenever possible. They’ll lift response 10 percent to 25 percent.
  • Say the phone number and address a minimum of two times in the tag.
How to Assess the Script

As you read the script, ask a few questions on each page. How are we capturing the viewer’s attention at each moment? Are we creating desire and building motivation? Are we honest, sincere, credible? Are we creating a positive relationship and trust with the individual viewer, and earning the right to ask for the order? And, lastly, have we moved the viewers with emotion and convinced them with logic?

Increase Sales Using DRTV

Fragmenting TV audiences continue to give many marketers a headache in the UK – yet for brands who have embraced DRTV the increase in channels to market is a massive bonus.
But many of the big media & creative agencies in Adland continue to avoid advising their brand clients to try DRTV – why?
It may be these agencies still consider DRTV to be the ‘poor relation’ of mainstream media, lacking creativity and aimed solely at daytime TV viewers with debt problems or those seeking personal injury compensation.
Companies offering quick solutions to these everyday problems still use DRTV because they know it works. The question the increasing numbers of start-ups, pushing their free download apps, always ask is will their DRTV ad compel consumers to act straightaway?
Major USA brands started running direct response campaigns many years ago and this helped improve DRTV’s credibility – Apple, Braun, Coca-Cola, Disney, Time-Life, McDonald’s, KFC and many others such as charities needing to sign up donors.
DRTV is not new, the first references to this medium were in the USA during the 50’s yet it was in the 60’s that DRTV really took off helped by the introduction in the States of freephone numbers + fast talking sales presenters.  Today 87% of all TV ads in the USA include a response mechanism (Freephone number and/or URL) whilst in the UK this is still only 41% of all ads.

Use a Specialist DRTV Agency

Arguably it has been the emergence of specialist DRTV agencies who’ve helped to substantially grow this direct response sector. ARM Direct, formed in 1984, provides UK clients with DRTV ad production alongside media planning & buying.
We also use ad performance measurement software so that brand owners can monitor which TV channels are generating the most responses; at what time of day; in which TV programmes.
Accountability and the ability to accurately track & analyse each response should be top of every direct marketing ‘wish list’ – ARM’s analytics software allows us to improve a client’s media buying efficiency and to lower their DRTV cost-per-response targets on a month-by-month basis.
DRTV alters the relationship with your consumer and it also changes the nature of your TV ad campaign from one with long term ‘brand’ objectives which are difficult to measure to one providing immediate results.  Simultaneously, it can generate an accurate database profiling large numbers of consumers by their needs as well as geographical locations etc.
DRTV consumers do not necessarily fit the demographic profile some its critics might expect – around 79% of respondents are home owners aged between 35-45; 53% are professionals; 68% are graduates.
It is crucial for marketers to know when people are most likely to go online or pick up the phone.  On average 53% of consumers respond to DRTV ads in the afternoon; 23% in the morning; 24% in the evening. This can differ Monday to Sunday so it is vital that you are using a DRTV specialist agency like ARM to do the day-by-day response analysis on your campaign.

Making a Successful DRTV Ad

Your DRTV ad must also be the right length – we make 30sec + 40sec + 60sec versions and then over 2-3 months we test and monitor which length works best on what channels.
The creative must quickly overcome any objections and encourage TV viewers to respond immediately using a URL or 0800 number which must be clearly displayed throughout the commercial (not just at the end for a few seconds – a classic mistake made by many brand creative agencies). The DRTV ad must ideally entertain and use an emotional trigger – admittedly we all see lots of bad DRTV ads which look cheap and don’t help consumer confidence’ however, smart DRTV ads take a more broadminded creative view of what constitutes a ‘direct sell’ and when done well using imagination the often low-cost DRTV ad can achieve marvellous results – please look at Gousto or ClaireaBella in our Case Studies.
While DRTV has a lot in common with other forms of direct marketing, there are some important differences. TV ads are extremely competitive and viewers like to be entertained so a good DRTV ad must be memorable because the sales message will disappear from the screen in 30-60secs. The creative idea should be quickly understood and the DRTV campaign should be part of a ‘multi-channel marketing strategy’ which includes social media & online activity at the same time.

DRTVis now affordable

Many start-ups are worried about TV needing a big production & media buying budget – this is not the case. These days new TV advertisers should work backwards and ask themselves how many units they need to sell to cover the cost and ensure this is a realistic forecast. New DRTV advertisers must not only look at the immediate payback any campaigns will generate but also factor in the value of customers returning to their website.
A DRTV campaign budget usually ranges from £15,000 to £35,000 – this includes making a hard working DRTV ad + running it for 4 weeks on a wide mix of proven TV channels. 
The wide choice of SKY channels and the fact that DRTV works best off-peak means advertisers can take advantage of cheaper airtime deals. These lower cost spots can accurately target your buyers and DRTV response levels are optimised because viewers are more likely to have a genuine interest in the product or service offered.
One recent £5,000 DRTV ad + £15,000 media spend over 4 weeks helped to launch a new 50+ cosmetics brand and this £20,000 test spend generated over £175,000 sales during the launch month. Awareness of this online only product range was created using highly targeted TV channels that research proved have high numbers of the right age group watching during the week.
A specialist Direct Response agency like ARM will ensure a new client has an ad that follows all the DRTV ‘golden rules’ we always work hard to plan & book the most appropriate airtime slots in TV programmes that we know your demographic will watch during affordable off-peak dayparts.

Smarter is Better

Our business philosophy is ‘SMARTER IS BETTER’ – by this we mean using proven DRTV creative & media buying principles.
We know viewers are probably doing other things when they see a DRTV ad on TV – this means the creative message must grab their attention and make them want to respond immediately.
The message and tone in your DRTV ad are crucial plus the idea must be original and clever to cut through all the other ads in the break.
In the UK it’s becoming more and more to reach consumers cost effectively which is why many UK brand advertisers are now using entertaining 30sec ‘softer sell’ BRTV (Brand Response TV) ads to raise awareness and website traffic. Some are dovetailing these fun BRTV ads with ‘direct sell’ DRTV ads helping to generate an immediate ROI whilst at the same time continuing to support their brand values.
Being smarter is definitely better and working with an affordable budget is always our stated business goal – making sure clients are ‘seen more often on more TV channels at the right times of day to find their target demographic’.

Key Facts

  • Marketing campaigns that utilise TV are six times as efficient compared to those that do not.
  • TV drives 17% of paid search; 15% of response from display advertising; 14% of affiliate referrals; 13% of direct web visits.
  • Brands using TV as part of their marketing strategy experience an average uplift in branded search of 33%.
  • Over the course of your average week, 93.8% of the UK’s adult population is reached through commercial TV.
  • Live TV accounts 48% of the average UK adult’s daily media consumption.
  • Live TV reaches 88.6% of 16-34 year-olds every week, and represents 48.8% of all daily video consumption within this age group.
  • TV generates 51% of all online and offline word of mouth activity and the most social conversation, with 44% of all media-driven Facebook activity now deriving from TV content.
  • Brands that utilise TV advertising as part of a marketing campaign experience on average 69% uplift in online conversions.
  • 74% of UK adults browse online via other devices whilst watching TV, with ad recall generally unaffected.
  • TV campaigns that span a period of time longer than 3 years generate an average profit uplift of 140%.

 *Statistics sourced from Thinkbox and BARB

DRTV in the UK

“The more you tell the more your sell!”




    • Started late 1940’s
    • ‘Live’ TV commercials selling products of limited value mainly for use in the home
    • Usually fronted by a fast talking salesmen
    • First specialist ‘DRTV’ ad agencies formed in late 60’s
    • DRTV successes in US allowed specialist ad agencies to expand into longform ie. 30minute Infomercials
    • Today 87% of all US TV ads after 10pm are transmitted with a response mechanism ie. 0800 + URL
    • Many major US “Brands” now use a mix of traditional 30sec TV ads + longer DRTV Spots & Infomercials

    These include:


    And a growing list of others…

    Why Direct Response Television?

    Companies producing brand-building + awareness advertising campaigns have used TV as the major element in their marketing mix for decades.

    Quite simply television still works

    Traditional TV ads increase awareness & demand for a product or service – so much so that it’s changed consumer behaviour drastically over the last 60+ years.

    Many famous TV commercials – from “A Mars a Day” to “I bet he drinks Carling Black Label” – have become part of popular culture as much as pop songs or leading entertainers. Nationwide we still continue to recognise the same products & brand names.

    Television is generally seen as a mass medium, frequently attracting peak audiences of more than 10 million. It also reaches almost the entire UK population, including those who are not regular readers of newspapers or magazines or frequent users of social media.

    The growth in the number of TV channels and the spread of minority interest programmes, means that much smaller sectors of the community can now be targeted via television.

    The advent of DRTV (Direct Response Television) changes the relationship with the consumer. It also changes the nature of an advertising campaign, from one with long-term objectives which are notoriously difficult to measure – such as “building awareness” and “changing perceptions” – to one providing “measurable results”. Simultaneously DRTV can generate an accurate database, profiling consumers by their needs and responses, and by geographical locations.

    US TV Ads are more Direct Response focussed

    According to recent US media reseach, 68% of all TV ads in the States carry a URL or telephone number and this figure rises to around 87% after 10pm. Given the proven ‘Power of TV’ advertising it’s surprising that more UK consumer brands (and start-ups) are not testing a TV response mechanism as an integral part of their marketing mix.

    CH4 research discovered that only about 48% of UK TV commercials currently offer a response mechanism – compare that to the US!

    The cost of creating a conventional 30sec TV commercial, paying for peak air time and achieving an appropriate number or OTS (opportunities to see) will put a strain on most marketing budgets.

    The good news, however, is that creative production costs have been slashed in recent years and ARM Direct is now making highly successful DRTV + BRTV ads for budgets from £5k to £18k – many of these run for 18 months or more helping to amortise creative costs.

    Use cheaper daytime TV slots

    The UK TV media landscape offers a wide choice of affordable TV channels – and DRTV works best in off-peak ie. the cheaper daytime slots.

    For DRTV we make sure your product or sales message is seen more often on more TV channels at lowest media cost.  

    DRTV generates an immediate response – however, both response & brand strategies can be incorporated into the same DRTV ad.

    This strategy depends on the ability & experience of the creative team and the type of product or service on offer.

    Common sense in any case suggests the creative treatment of a DRTV ad should not contradict or undermine any ‘brand positioning’ carefully and expensively developed through previous awareness-building campaigns.

    Providing that all the parties involved in the development of a DRTV campaign are aware of this, there is no reason why it should be a problem.

    Even a casual perusal of off-peak TV will reveal that DRTV advertising is being used to an increasing extent in the UK by both product & service based companies – high street & online retail.

    As with all forms of advertising, some DRTV is performing remarkably well, and some is disappointing.

    Use a specialist Direct Response agency

    In our experience failed DRTV campaigns result from two important factors:

    1. Poor media planning & buying – meaning that failure would be likely however good the DRTV ad

    2. Or a misunderstanding of the sales & script writing techniques that should be used for making all successful DRTV ads

    Your next move to ensure success

    Clients thinking of embarking on a Direct Response campaign should always select a DRTV specialist agency – ideally one like ARM Direct with years of dedicated DRTV media planning & buying + DRTV creative production in-house.

    Using a Brand agency to undertake a DRTV campaign often leads to poor results or outright failure.

    In the USA it is the specialist Direct Response agencies that rule this sector for good reason – they are DRTV experts.

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    Now let’s talk about what we can do for you!
    Call Digby Orsmond or Shane Murphy on +44 (0)20 7224 3040
    or email