10 Reasons to Consider DRTV Advertising vs. Branded Campaigns


In this challenging television environment, advertisers are trying to squeeze every penny of value from their TV campaigns.  That said, a common debate between the Chief Marketing Officer and the CEO is whether to execute a branded campaign or Direct Response Television advertising.

A branded campaign is simply meant to grow a company’s name and reputation, while a Direct Response Television (DRTV) campaign’s primary objective is to generate inbound sales calls or online traffic.

If you’re considering a national television campaign, which direction should you choose, branded or DRTV advertising?

Here are 10 reasons to consider why DRTV may be the better choice than branded:

10.  Does your campaign need to make an immediate impact to your company’s bottom line and deliver a fast ROI?

A branded campaign is a long-term commitment.  Maybe your company has been successful creating widgets for the computer industry and nobody’s heard of you. Perhaps you have millions in reserve and you want to become a household name and build brand value for down the road.  Intel is a good example.  Without their television campaigns, nobody would know their involvement in our daily technology.  With the help of television, people now actually seek products with Intel technology.

9.  Do you have the infrastructure for a DRTV Campaign?

DRTV usually involves selling directly to the public.  This means handling inbound calls or website traffic efficiently, so you’re not disappointing people to which you’re targeting.  If this means a totally different approach for you, it may be worth ramping up DRTV slowly to ensure that you are up to handling the volume.

8.  Is your company culture DRTV or Branded TV?

Let’s face it.  DRTV has become more modern, more forward-thinking, and is all about accountability.  When I think of the 80’s, I think of branded TV campaigns at a time when corporations just threw wads of cash at campaigns without thought They did not account for the end results.  There are fewer such companies today, but they do exist, and you should know who you are.  Are you the Hollywood establishment or the Indy upstart?  For branded campaigns, production budgets can be well over six figures. There are many factors involved, at least one sound-stage, craft services, talent location scouting, and a media schedule on high-profile networks.  One of our clients recently spent over $700,000 on the production of a :60/:30 branded commercial.  The spots are gorgeous, but not meant to generate immediate response.  They are about announcing their rise to the top and establishing their “seat at the table”.

7.  What are your competitors doing?

We all say that we want to blaze our own path but, let’s face it, many of us follow rather than lead.  Which are you?  If your competitors are airing beautiful, glossy high-end branded commercials, you may feel compelled to compete in that arena.  If you do, I’d make sure you hire a high-end production company and maybe even a Hollywood established director (as my aforementioned client did).  Competing in the same arena means your spot has to be at least as good as your competitors’.  Otherwise you’re doing your brand a disservice.  Another option is to be a leader and to go in the opposite direction – create a DRTV campaign.

6.  What’s your budget tolerance?

If you decide on a branded campaign, come up with a budget and live with it.  This could be a tremendous waste when it comes to food-craft services for the shoots, extra production crew, union fees and big media spends.  Employees and clients will be sufficiently impressed when they go to your shoots and see the final production – regardless of results.  You’ll also need to accept higher media rates, as none- inventory is more expensive.  The media will appreciate you more and provide premium “swag” (free sporting events and Broadway show tickets) once you spend millions on your branded campaign.  You will need tremendous patience and unwavering belief that, as you continue to spend, you’ll get the craved ancillary benefits associated with a well-executed long-term branded television campaign.

5.  What’s your long-term company goal?

Are you looking for immediate growth by adding more customers and increasing sales? If so, DRTV is a valuable option. Or do you want to add talent to your roster and grow from within first? These decisions are best made by accessing your long-term business goals and budgets.

The right DRTV campaign can supersize and drive immediate sales, so if you’re not ramped-up for this, you may need to hold off.  If you’re looking for long-term brand awareness and you have the budget, branded may be the way to go.  It’s also a great way to build your company’s profile if you’re looking to sell out to the highest bidder.

4.  Do you have a great story to tell?

Consumers love a great story and buy products from companies they like.  A great DRTV campaign should allow you to present the clear benefits of your unique product/service with your story as the backdrop.  People buy based on emotions and justify by logic so you’ll want to cover both bases.  How many Mercedes’ are really bought because they are safe to drive?  A recent Lending Tree commercial featuring the founder’s story is a great example.  He got ripped off when he obtained a mortgage so he started Lending Tree to prevent the same from happening to others.  His words, not mine. He has a good on-camera presence and a compelling story that sells.

3.  Is your product/service unique?

The most successful DRTV campaigns introduce new products or services. Take CLR Cleaner, for example, who would have known it could clean everything from your shower head to the asphalt on your driveway? CLR Cleaner exemplifies the power of DRTV. If there’s nothing unique about your product/service, perhaps a branded campaign promoting your company’s longevity or leadership role in making the world a better place makes more sense.

2.  Is your product/service available nationally?

With the proliferation of so many new national digital and cable channels, the opportunities for DRTV advertising have skyrocketed.  If you can sell in at least 80% of the U.S., it’s hard to beat the exposure you’ll get from a national DRTV advertising campaign.  There are literally millions of avails open each week with new, and very popular, networks looking for advertisers to fill the remnant void.  You won’t come close to getting this nearly-free exposure with a branded campaign.

1. Does your product/service have mass consumer appeal?

We can talk all day about the virtues of a successful DRTV campaign, but if what you offer does not resonate with television viewers, it simply won’t work.  You must promote something that is compelling enough to motivate consumers to call while they’re watching, a feat that’s easier said than done.  You have to get them so excited that they wonder how they’ve survived so long without you.  And the offer itself has to be a no-brainer, as though you’re giving it away.  The commercials need a certain dynamic and pace in order to generate the level of enthusiasm necessary to elicit their call.  It’s a sweet science and, once all of the stars align and you hit the air, your DRTV campaign could be the launching pad that rockets your company into another stratosphere.

At National Media Connection we are all about DRTV Advertising!

If your Company promotes business nationally – we are a full service direct response advertising agency, delivering live TV lead generation.

Reach out (1-800-257-0485) to discuss how NMC’s DRTV Advertising can help take your Company to the next level!

About the author:
Considered one of advertising’s most respected and imaginative broadcast media buyers and campaign managers, Matthew Goldreich has a 20+ year track record of direct response marketing success.
An expert in television and radio infomercial and short-form marketing, Matt has created and produced winning campaigns for the mortgage, auto, insurance, hair restoration, and a multitude of other industries.
Founder of his own successful full-service, direct-response television advertising agency and production company, Matt’s broadcast employment includes NBC and Pax (ION) Television. He has written, produced, and directed dozens of infomercials as well as hundreds of successful short-form, direct-response ads.