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Direct Response Marketing

DRTV Production: A Winning Combination

1 Mar, 2011 By: Bridget McCrea Response

Whether they’re working in long-form or short-form, today’s DRTV producers strive to balance the needs of their clients with end-user demands.


What do you get when you cross a successful DRTV marketer of products like Wonder Hanger with venerable toy maker Vermont Teddy Bear? The end result is PajamaJeans, an invention that the latter developed for its PajamaGram mail order firm. The product, which is pajama-soft but looks enough like real jeans to be worn in public, sold so well during the 2009 holiday season that Vermont Teddy Bear decided to market them to the masses.

To gain exposure for the product, the manufacturer began working with Williston, Vt.-based Hampton Direct, whose “As Seen on TV” hits include Furniture Fix and Total Pillow. Also on board was Boonton, N.J.-based Concepts TV Productions, where President Collette Liantonio and her team came up with a short-form campaign for the $39.95 product.

Liantonio took a grassroots approach to the PajamaJeans show, which she knew would reach a broader audience if a wide range of female shapes and sizes were shown wearing the pants. “We didn’t want to just feature emaciated girls; a good booty is really important,” says Liantonio, laughing. “We cast people who had ‘real’ bodies. That’s the beauty of the spot.”

By acknowledging the fact that the world is made up of more than just “skinny minny” models, Liantonio says the marketer has been able to reach a wider audience of DRTV viewers who either order directly from TV, or who visit the PajamaJeans website for more information before buying.

“I usually warn clients against selling garments on TV that come in different sizes because those items are so personalized,” says Liantonio. “But in this case, the clients hit a home run, thanks to the universal appeal of the spot and the fact that it was directed at ‘real’ women.”

Drilling Down

Concepts TV isn’t the only DRTV production firm that’s getting into consumers’ heads to figure out exactly what they want, how much they’re willing to pay for it and where they’ll make their ultimate purchases — be it on TV, online or from retail stores. With frugal customers watching their checkbooks closer than ever and the recession lingering in most areas of the country, this attention to detail has become a critical point for both short- and long-form producers.

“2010 was a pretty tough year for both short-form spots and for infomercials,” says Ava Seavey, president at New York-based Avalanche Creative Services Inc. On the short-form side, she says her firm produced very few “gadgety” spots, and had to adjust its hit ratio from 20:1 to 30:1. Response rate was off for most clients, says Seavey, who switched her campaign launch strategy to include 3- to 5-minute short-form spots, “in order to increase the odds that clients would succeed, despite the (shrinking) ratio.”

The strategy is working. “The longer the consumer is educated about the product, the better the chances for a potential response from him or her,” says Seavey. “Knowing that, we’ve reshaped the way we approach short-form, particularly on those items that seem a little iffy in a 2-minute format, plus higher-priced products and those that lend themselves to strong continuity programs.”

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