Moving into the mainstream

Carlton's Caroline Hunt examines the potential for DRTV on the ITV network

Caroline Hunt

THERE WAS plenty of good common sense in Beverly Barker's article on Direct Response Television (Admap, June 1995). However, the next challenge for marketers wishing to harness the combined power of the television and the telephone is how to extend their DRTV advertising beyond Channel 4 and satellite and take it to the 'Big Time', namely ITV.

There is a growing realisation amongst advertisers that it is possible to generate response at the same time as building brand equity and awareness. Indeed, far from detracting from the creativity, the addition of a telephone number can actually draw further attention to a commercial. In the context of a test drive or a sampling offer, for example, the 'call to action' is a very upfront and confident statement.

DRTV has seen remarkable growth. In 1992, less than one per cent of commercials had a telephone number on them. Today, the figure is around 20 per cent. Among the plethora of banks, building societies and general financial services, travel, motor and other direct 'specialists', is a growing body of traditional brand advertisers who are looking at DRTV in a new light. Given that the media budget would be deployed against brand objectives in any case, the response process and value need only be judged against logistical costs.

If the cost of handling the calls, transcribing them, sending out a sample and a money-off coupon, was, say £2, the campaign could be judged against redemption rates. A product with a £10 margin, enjoying a 50 per cent trial-to-purchase ratio would have the combined benefits of a high level of immediate sales at a £6 profit margin, traditional retail support by means of higher awareness and better perceptions, and a database which can be exploited for other product launches, cross selling, loyalty programmes, research and targeting.

Exhibit 1 shows how an advertiser might anticipate the CPR from a proposed DRTV campaign.

EXHIBIT 1. CALCULATION OF CPR

Cost per spot500
Response rate0.03%
Response31
Cost response (CPR)16.13
Cost/customer at 10% conversion161.30