Golden rules for effective DRTV creative

As well as the essential eye for detail and the bespoke expertise involved in the granular spot time media planning and buying process that sits at the heart of any successful direct response TV campaign, the ad that runs in that media space has to work especially hard to maximise ROI. We know that creative response rates can vary by between 30% and 60% so getting the creative as well as the media working at optimum levels of effectiveness is crucial for campaign success.

In terms of creative, a common pitfall can be producing a ‘vanilla’ advert that blandly ticks all of the boxes but drives low response because of a lack of engagement and cut though. Even worse is using a brand ad and thinking that the addition of a phone number or URL will make it an effective piece of DRTV.

The way that we approach DRTV creative is to keep a simple but proven rulebook close to hand. When adhered to, these rules can make direct response truly effective when combined with great creativity. Calls to action and attribution analysis associated with this discipline means that ROI is king and if the phone isn’t ringing, the ad isn’t working. Period.

Where do we start? The same place as with any good piece of communication: with the target audience in mind (“Who am I talking to?”). However there is one modification; with a DR ad we aim to talk to those people within the target group who we describe as “interested waverers”, the segment that has already been mulling over a problem or a purchase who we can appeal to and generate an instant response with our ad. We want to finally pull their trigger to take action. Our aim is to give them multiple compelling reasons to reply within the ad; more than we normally provide within a brand ad, which traditionally focuses on a “single idea, creatively executed”.

So let’s make “What am I selling?” quickly obvious from the off. The sooner we get the target market’s attention as to what the ad is trying to sell, the quicker we can filter out the uninterested; they can go and make a cup of tea and we can maximise the attention of the engaged and spend more time explaining to them the features and benefits of our offer, “Why should I respond?”

We now start setting up a value exchange that has grip and is credible. They have a need, desire or a problem to resolve and you have a solution. Quality insight and barrier analysis is helpful here. Many times the product strengths that your R&D team have worked so hard to bring to market are not what is going to get the customer to buy. Not because they don’t value them, but because they have specific problems that they are looking to solve. The more you can articulate your benefit as a way of solving their problem, the more success you will have.

The final important piece of the jigsaw is that we must make it crystal clear that they need to do something having seen the ad by showing a clear call to action, “How do I respond?” We need to be as creative as possible to find a way to sign off in a manner which draws and keeps our customers’ attention and maintains that momentum to take action and make contact.

Call, click, write – the more choice we give them, the more we will maximise our response rates – celebrate that call to action, give it enough time and space for the audience to take note and drive it home with gusto!

At McCann Central, we have both creative and media direct response specialists working together under one roof, developing highly effective integrated ROI campaigns. Each discipline operates completely differently to their awareness or “brand” counterparts and our experts can use their audit process to identify whether or not any client campaigns are working optimally.

If you would like an audit of your creative or your media DRTV strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kevin Murphy, Managing Director, UM Birmingham