Direct Response TV (DRTV) and Infomercial Marketing

What are Short Form Spots?

Short form is any DRTV commercial that is two minutes or less in length.

Though infomercials are DRTV cousins to short form, the differences are striking. Short-form DRTV spot campaigns have never produced the revenue that a successful infomercial can. And yet this is no reason to dismiss short- form DRTV.

Short form DRTV commercials are generally 60, 90 or 120 Short Form Productionseconds long. Because they are brief DRTV messages, the product needs to be easily understood in this time. Many infomercial products won't work in short form because it takes 8 to 10 minutes to fully explain the product features and benefits. Or if your product sale requires creating an emotional bond ("improve your relationships" self help course) to make the sale, short form will not cut it.

Think about the classic short form products you've seen over the years and how the products' benefits are quickly understood: classic rock music CD's, Clint Eastwood movie collection, Ginsu knives, miracle polishers/cleansers, unique tools, Thigh Master, and so on.

Of note, 90% of all short form products are priced at or below $29.95.

Short form often complements the infomercial campaign. Many infomercial clients cut short-form commercials out of their infomercial and run a simultaneous short-form campaign. Normally, the short-form spots are not as profitable as the infomercial, but by reminding viewers of the product in short bursts throughout the day, they can create a synergy with the infomercial to boost profitability.

Short-form DRTV spots are run on a “remnant” basis, i.e., when and where the station chooses, and achieve on average a 50 percent clearance (the percentage of spots that run versus what you requested). Infomercial time slots are set and secure for at least each upcoming quarter and clear 95 percent of the time.

When to Use Short Form vs. Long Form

Short Form:

  • Less complex product and story
  • Lower price point ($19.95 - $39.95) or coupon offer
  • Need for more targeted media placement
  • Drive retail campaign goal

Long Form:

  • More complex product and story
  • Higher price point ($29.95 - ?)
  • Need for significant differentiation