Lights, Camera, Action: 7 Steps to Silver-screen Success
There are seven key steps to creating successful DRTV spots, says Ian French, president and executive creative director of Northern Lights Direct Response Television — a creative and production services firm for short-and long-form DRTV commercials. French discussed these steps in a session he co-presented on “Decoding the DNA of Brand-Based DRTV” at the DMA 2006 Annual Conference & Exhibition in October.
1. Use emotion. The DRTV spot needs to be emotionally engaging “to the point where people are dramatically and profoundly moved by what they see,” French says.
2. Keep it simple. “In any cause, whether it’s raising money for cancer or child sponsorship or the environment or political parties, there’s always a lot of complicated factors that go into causing the problem that we’re trying to solve. But it has to be presented to the viewer in very, very simplistic terms,” French says. The problem and the solution to the problem need to be presented in simple, clear, immediately understandable terms.
3. Take your time. French says 30-second commercials will rarely work. Sixty- and 120- second spots are better, but for the right cause with the right stories, the best way to go is an infomercial (which typically run a little less than 30 minutes). “The rationale for that is simply that you need time to engage people emotionally and motivate them to action. So the longer you have to do that, the better off you are,” he says.
4. Get them to sustain. Rather than just driving prospects to donate, drive them to become monthly givers. It’s much more efficient when it comes to DRTV.
5. Offer incentives. Incentives such as T-shirts or, for child sponsorship organizations, a child’s photograph make people feel as if they are a part of a cause and community. It builds a tribal feeling of belonging to a community of like-minded people that French says is attractive to most potential donors.
6. Test. Test the creative, incentives you use, price points, the stations you run the spot on, the time of day, etc.
7. Create a micro site. Make sure the site and commercial are integrated, with an image of the same host from the DRTV spot and similar creative on the micro site. “If they are in the donating mode, you want to walk them down the path to conclude that,” French says, not just send them to your organization’s home page, where there is less of a singular focus on the message from your DRTV spot.
Ian French can be reached via www.nldrtv.com