Direct Response Television And How It Works

Bruce Lee
OgilvyOne


Years ago, direct response television was not something you could learn by emulating best practices. There were none. DRTV was the province of the marginal marketer, a fast way to make a buck. Blue-chip brands would blanch at the thought.

Back then, DRTV commercials competed for being the most ugly and intrusive usually featuring a male voice-over with astounding lung capacity who fast-talked from first frame to last, while a toll-free phone number rode the bottom third of the screen for the entire two minutes.

These spots looked cheap to produce and, as they were judged on cost-per-order, they were. And they cast cheapness on what they were selling.

There was no big idea galvanising the brand to your life. A spot would just pound you with reason after reason not to wait another minute, to have your credit card ready and call now, climaxing in an urgent, limited-time offer to summon your adrenaline.

What makes a commercial direct response?