Top 15 Direct Response TV Secrets Revealed for The DRTV Centre’s 15th Anniversary

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The DRTV Centre, London’s specialist direct response TV advertising agency, celebrates 15 years in business by sharing fifteen secrets of effective DRTV advertising.


Don't reinvent the wheel

DRTV (direct response television) can attract instant new customers and produce high returns on investment. There are many pitfalls, however, and failure can be costly.

To celebrate its 15th birthday The DRTV Centre, the leading UK specialist advertising agency, is sharing the top fifteen secrets learned over these fifteen years.

DRTV includes any TV advertising that asks consumers to respond directly to the advertiser, by calling an 0800 number, visiting a web site or sending a text (SMS) message.

  •     To guarantee the best DRTV script, listen carefully to the industry expert who suggests that it should follow a proven formula. He knows what he’s talking about. Many clients who are new to the medium want to break the rules – more often than not their products fail.
  •     The attention of the viewer must be captured immediately; the message needs to be clear and relevant and quickly followed by a call-to-action (“phone now” for example).
  •     A problem/solution scenario often works well – with the advertised product being the solution to the problem, naturally.
  •     Highlight the most important product benefits by featuring prominent titles on screen. Advertising agency creatives hate these - but they work.
  •     You might be tempted to use humour to capture attention. Don’t. Humour hardly ever works.
  •     Make it clear what response you want from the viewer. This is the call-to-action. Repeat it.
  •     Show and speak your 0800 Freefone number very early in your script and keep it on screen until the end.
  •     It is crucial to use the most memorable 0800 numbers available. Response rates can be 50% higher for easy-to-remember numbers.
  •     Experiment with different lengths of commercial. For some products a 30 second commercial will pull response just as well as a 60, at half the airtime cost.
  •     Branding is a side effect of great DRTV commercials, not the other way around. Concentrate on the offer and on maximising response. Brand awareness will result later, directly from DRTV success.
  •     Avoid buying peak time spots. Lots of low rating spots in cheap daytime will produce a steady response at lowest cost per enquiry.
  •     DRTV results are accurately measurable; take the advice of industry media experts with respect to analysis. Such analysis will tell you which TV stations are performing well, what time length is best for your commercial, and what time of day and day of week are most cost-effective.
  •     Recognise that DRTV is a science. Identify your winners using response statistics. Stick with your winners and ditch your losers immediately.
  •     Testing a new product or service on-air will provide much more reliable guidance than using focus groups.
  •     In judging success beware of taking emotional decisions. Base your judgment purely on facts.

David Pearson, CEO of The DRTV Centre explains: “Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. There are tried and tested ways to increase your chances of DRTV success. Use them.”

Company information:

  •     The DRTV Centre was established in London 15 years ago.
  •     The first and only advertising agency in the UK to concentrate solely on direct response television.
  •     Provides everything clients need to mount successful TV campaigns: strategies, idea creation, scriptwriting, storyboards, research, casting, location search, film/video production, music, voice-overs, transmission copies, channel selection, TV airtime booking and response analysis.

For further information, visit or call David Pearson at The DRTV Centre on 0800 635 9000; or email david(at)drtvcentre(dot)com.

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