Magazine article Marketing

New Deal with Direct Response

Magazine article Marketing

New Deal with Direct Response

Article excerpt

In the early 60s I was creative head of CPV (International) which eventually, as agencies do, metamorphosed into Fletcher Shelton Delaney. One day I was invited by the sales director of Associated Television to view some US direct response TV commercials.

It was very educational. I was astonished to see what you could get away with in the US without going to jail; and even more astonished that consumers were prepared to spend substantial sums buying directly through this medium. But most astonishing of all was the format of some of the commercials, which were 30 minutes long and consisted of pitches straight to camera from people whose techniques I recognised instantly as those of the fairground barker -- extremely hard-sell and very funny. The best sold a gadget called the Vegamatic, guaranteed to work miracles with vegetables and fruit, at the then outrageous price of $39.95.

From those old commercials I learned one important lesson: don't worry about boring most of your audience. They can always switch to another channel. You only want to sell to an exceedingly small minority. Just keep them interested. If only 1% of viewers buy, you can probably retire for several months on the money you have made.

What is more, high production values didn't matter. Leading expert Al Eicoff, an old colleague of mine whose Chicago agency has made more than 20,000 DRTV spots, reports in his book Or your Money Back that costly productions often reduced response -- perhaps because they compromised the authenticity of the pitch. …

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