Production House: The Top 10 Factors to Selling Fitness: Part I1 Jan, 2014 By: Collette Stohler, Concepts TV Productions Response
She was six-feet tall with long blonde hair and a flawless face. Her thin frame was perfect for the camera. But within minutes of beginning an exercise routine, she was out of breath and completely beet red. She was a pretty face with no stamina. Her body might be able to make it on the runway, but she would never make it in the world of DRTV fitness.
When it comes to selling fitness in direct response, there are many factors to consider prior to putting your product on the air. In the first of this two-part series, here are five of the key factors to consider when selling fitness via DRTV:
Models With Stamina: Dana Conklin, a producer and director with Concepts TV Productions, says, “Anyone can have a pretty face or a nice bod, but that doesn’t mean they can perform all day!” When you’re shooting multiple days of fitness moves — or even just one day — the models need to be able to keep up with the product. Sometimes it takes one shot — but sometimes it takes 30. The talent must showcase the product by demonstrating amazing moves, but they won’t be able to do that if they’re huffing and puffing.
Collette Liantonio, president of Concepts TV Productions, worked on the Jack LaLanne Stepper Machine. Although LaLanne was in his eighties at the time, the very muscular models that flanked him during the exercises were unable to keep up with the fitness guru.
Before-and-After Photographs: These pictures are the essence of a strong DRTV spot or infomercial. They prove to the audience that this product works on everyday people — that the person watching on the couch can go from flab to fab. Anyone can hire a pretty model, but before-and-after photographs show that this product is worthy of picking up the phone. But developing these testimonials requires lead-time. It is a combination of diet and exercise that produces the body transformation. A good producer and her team will painstakingly follow the subject’s progress throughout the process and make certain he or she religiously follows the prescribed regimen. We always plan on a high rate of attrition.
Rachel Tonick, president of FitLife Productions in Santa Monica, Calif., says that before-and-afters “not only give the producer a gauge of whether the program is effective, but also show viewers what kind of transformation they can undergo if they commit and push their body.”
- Wardrobe: When it comes to wardrobe, you want to have your talent sport sleek, form-fitting fit wear. Stay away from major brand names, loud prints and flouncy items. The talent’s wardrobe needs to tease the audience with a showcase of the body and/or specific body part without distracting from the main event — the product.
- Lighting: Want to highlight a shredded six-pack? Then light from behind to cast a shadow across the body. This will make those muscles pop. Want to show a lean, flat stomach on a woman? Then light from the front where you will be able to see her smooth skin clearly on screen.
- Target Audience: Prior to putting your DRTV fitness product on the air, you have to figure out your audience. Either you are appealing to an already specified audience, or you are taking a risk to build a new audience. We all know that most DR customers are women. Does your product appeal to both genders? A specific age group? Is your product difficult or easy? What type of results do you promise? You can specify a vertical audience like young fit males (Beachbody’s Insanity) who want to take their workouts to a higher level — or you can try to appeal to a broader audience of middle-aged women who want to drop pounds and firm up (Beachbody’s Slim in 6). If you want to appeal to the masses, it is important that your testimonials, before-and-after photographs and models range in gender, age and ethnicity. It is vitally important that you don’t intimidate the would-be exerciser with routines that are overly challenging. Providing a number of how-to videos with various levels of increasing challenges helps.
Want to learn more about what it takes to make it in DRTV fitness? Stay tuned for Part II, coming soon in the pages of Response. ■