DRTV Is On the Rise
Indeed, an infomercial or direct response television
(DRTV) has been a growing trend for more than 20 years and shows every sign
More and more companies are discovering that it allows them to reduce the
cost and risk associated with bringing new products to market, and then to
improve the reach and effectiveness of their advertising once they are
The concept of DRTV is fairly simple. Obviously, it uses television, the
world’s most powerful medium, with its ability to instantly reach millions
with the unequaled impact of sound and moving images.
But it directs that power within the discipline of direct response, a
century-old marketing strategy that doesn’t rely upon traditional retail
stores and distributors to make sales.
Direct response ads are designed not to drive customers to stores but to
make them respond immediately and directly to the advertisements themselves.
How DRTV is Better
How is DRTV different from traditional TV advertising?
Well, in regular TV advertising, you see short :30 messages that the
advertiser hopes will make you notice, remember and think positively about
his particular brand of beer, bank, cereal or what-have-you.
In a DRTV ad or infomercial, which is usually two to sixty times longer,
you’d get all of that, plus a harder sales pitch, details on a specific
offer, and the opportunity to “Order Now”!
Since 1984, the percentage of DRTV advertising on television has
Critics may say that this rise in infomercials has meant a decrease in
the quality of television in general, but most marketers see it differently.
Quite simply, they believe DRTV has opened up the marketplace.
Shooting on location
Drawbacks of Traditional Retail
To illustrate their point of view, consider the plight of an entrepreneur in
the days before DRTV.
Even if he had truly invented the better mousetrap, he faced truly
Herculean obstacles before he could effectively sell it.
First he’d have to finance and complete the manufacturing of, say, 50,000
units. Then he’d have to line up a network of distributors to warehouse and
Next, he’d have to convince the buyers at a handful of retail giants to
give (or even rent) him shelf space to try his product on what was
essentially a consignment deal.
Part of this negotiation would often include the marketer promising to
give the retailer co-op advertising money, or even run a multi-million
dollar ad campaign.
The marketer would have to ship his product to hundreds of individual
He’d have no control over where the product was displayed or how or if it
was explained by clerks.
When his advertising ran, he’d have no idea if either his message or his
media buying was effective. All he could do would be to hope.
If the product sold, the marketer would have to manufacture and ship
more, which would mean another round of financing.
He’d be short of cash, you see, because he’d have to wait six to nine
months before the retailers, distributors and other middlemen finished their
accounting and actually sent the marketer his first actual payment.
If the product didn’t sell, our poor marketer would have to take all of
it back. He’d even have to pay for the shipping.
is a proven writer-producer for DRTV, internet, print, and interactive projects. He can
be reached at mcdrtv.com or at 818-425-6441.