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Direct Response Advertising & Infomercial Production

DR Advertising & Infomercial Production

Archive for Infomercial Production


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By Ava Seavey, Queen Bee, Avalanche Creative Service, Inc.

The world is now a place filled with unlimited messaging and barraging of ads and content outdoors, online, in print, on the radio and on TV. The average person is hit with literally thousands of messages daily. How is it possible to grab attention, create emotion, and create interest?

Being bold and fearless in your creativity is a start. It is something that has been debated by the brand world and the world of DRTV and brand response for decades. But the interesting fact is that the brand and DRTV have blended, so that there is very little that differentiates them, other than the immediacy and urgency of DRTV and the way that media is purchased.

Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube are the ultimate direct response marketing vehicles. The opportunity to speak directly to prospects and customers on a personalized level has never been greater. Yet, mediocrity abounds in all medium, a desire for sameness, and a hesitancy to stand out.

Creativity does not need to be a dramatic shot of someone dangling from a mountaintop, an arty and stunning, exotic visual, a cheap shot at humor, or an effects filled voyage into fantasy. Creativity can be subtle and powerful, with meaning and purpose. The turn of a phrase, a compelling offer, donations to special causes, something just a bit different, but most of all, humanity. Compelling someone to pay attention because you’ve struck a chord in their head, their heart, or their soul, and they can relate. And they identify.

Creativity can be found whether it is a Facebook ad, a blog post, a subject line in an email campaign, or a super bowl ad. It can be found everywhere, in every nook and cranny. In every form of media, either digital or traditional. Give them content; don’t just ask them to buy something. Give them value. Give them something to believe in.

Push the envelope and create something unexpected. Something that makes someone smile, think, or feel alive, is what drives our modern communication. Too often we get caught up in data, analytics and formulas, and we forget that we are communicating with human beings that can think, feel, laugh, weep and be inspired.

To think out of the box is risky. It makes people afraid. It tests the boundaries of their belief systems and of everything they thought was comfortable and proper.

To not think out of the box is far riskier. To risk being invisible is a far greater risk.

Stand up. Speak up. Take risks. You might strike out, but you tried. Babe Ruth struck out a lot as he broke records hitting home runs. If you can get up to the plate, take that big swing.

Ava Seavey is president of Avalanche Creative Services, Inc., a creative shop that produces TV, radio, print and digital advertising.

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If digital marketing is all the rage, why are all the top global digital brands advertising on TV?

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If digital marketing is all the rage, why are all the top global digital brands advertising on TV?

We’ve all heard the predictions. DRTV is dead. Infomercials are dead. TV advertising in general is dead. It’s all about social media, digital spends and Amazon.

So why are advertising spends in traditional TV growing instead of shrinking? And why is Amazon, Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Microsoft growing their spends on TV? In fact, some of them are spending more than 50% of their ad budgets on TV!

The answer? TV is engaging, entertaining, and informative. And TV is still mass. Getting your brand out there on TV produces a power like no other. And TV has a halo effect for all other media.

Spend away on Amazon, Facebook, Google, but if you are not on TV, you will miss a big opportunity to share your story, and connect with your audience using real emotion, which is hard to beat in other media. Also, good luck slugging it out with those increasing digital spends and the click fraud, bots and crazy attribution mazes.

The infomercial and DRTV approach may seem old fashioned to some, but for products or services that require explanation, demonstration or emotion, there is nothing better than television to get that point across. Whether it is a: 30 brand message or a half hour infomercial, the power of television is not going anywhere. Just ask Amazon, who spent more money on TV in 2016 than Wal-Mart.

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By Ava Seavey, Queen Bee, Avalanche Creative Service, Inc.

As both network and cable TV viewership continue to decline, and market fragmentation becomes an ever-evolving conundrum, how has all of this impacted the infomercial marketplace? A lot.

So what is a marketer to do who has a complex product or service, an expensive price point or a continuity item? The dilemma had always been choosing between executing a two-minute spot or a half hour. Well, not any more. Enter the five-minute infomercial, the perfect hybrid of long and short form, with many of the advantages of both and few of the drawbacks.

Five-minute infomercials, also called mini mercials, mid form spots, medium length spots, have been around since at least 1997. In the early days, there was a more limited amount of stations and day parts that fives were available on.

Now, these mini mercials air on over 60 national cable stations in almost every day part.

A few years back, the average time a viewer would spend watching an infomercial was eight minutes. Today, it is down to five minutes, making the five minute format an information packed, muscular feat of marketing perfection for this You Tube generation of viewers.

The beauty of this hard working and mighty format is that the response rates greatly out perform two-minute commercials and the close rates are more consistent with half hours.

The mini mercials don’t need the same disclosures as long form and don’t need to be close captioned. In that sense, they fall more into the short form category, yet packing the information punch of a long form infomercial.

Another advantage to the five-minute format is that they can be created from scratch as originals, expansions of two-minute formats, or cut-downs of long forms. Any existing assets that the marketer currently has can be evaluated for use in a five-minute show.

Since 2008 when Avalanche produced their first five-minute show, we have seen some of the lowest cost per calls and highest close rates ever. And this mighty format is huge for differentiation of a brand as a stand-alone format.

Five minute shows work well for categories including nutritional supplements, beauty, personal care, surgical, not for profit, diet, fitness, bedding, housewares and more.

So the next time you are grappling with deciding between long and short form, consider the mighty might five minute. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’d like to learn more, please have a look at the Masters Series video below from the ERA September 2016 D2C Convention I took part in.

Ava Seavey is president of Avalanche Creative Services, Inc., a creative shop that produces long, short and midform drtv, radio, print and digital advertising. Ava celebrated 25 years in the drtv industry in 2015.


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What Jail Time For Kevin Trudeau Means for the Infomercial Business

As a busy infomercial producer, I have been following the updates of the Kevin Trudeau trial and sentencing. While I admit I found a sense of justice in sentencing someone who clearly did not have the consumer’s best interest at heart, I also realized that this national news story could be another public relations set back for our industry.

While the infomercial industry has matured in the past twenty some odd years and welcomed many brands into the fold and many others which have become brands due to DRTV marketing, there still remains a negativity attached that we, as an industry, must work together to squash.

I am hoping that this will be another wake up call for us to rally together to promote the positive aspects of the infomercial business to prospective marketers, consumers and the press as well.

The article about the sentencing is below and I welcome comments and dialogue.



Infomercials are a great way to sell a variety products and services. They’ve been used successfully to sell toys, vitamins, fitness equipment, pet products, cooking utensils, beauty products, financial services and pretty much anything else you can imagine. While taking the initiative to launch and sell a product can sometimes be daunting, many marketers begin their process by seeking to invest in products or services that have shown to stand the test of time. Here are a few categories that are often able to bring in fruitful returns even when times are economically challenging.

There’s No Psychiatrist In The World Like A Puppy Licking Your Face.

There are about 123 million households in the US with pets. If that’s not eye opening, how bout considering that in 2015, people in the U.S. spent roughly $60 billion dollars on their pets. With these statistics it’s pretty clear why this is an industry to consider launching a product in.
In addition to the obvious choices within the pet arena such as toys, treats and grooming products; products that can help train pets or that are designed to solve any type of pet related challenge have the potential do very well. If you’ve got an idea for a new pet product dancing around in your head, it might be time to bring it front and center for some serious evaluation.

Everything Has Beauty, But Not Everyone Sees It

Beauty is a booming industry. Whether it be for hair, makeup, skin care or otherwise, the obsession to look healthier and younger is overwhelming. And while this segment used to be primarily focused on women, today in the US, men make up 43% of the market. Products such as moisturizers, anti-aging creams, facial cleansers, concealers and hair growth supplements & solutions, present a massive opportunity that is likely not going away anytime in the near future. If you see an opportunity to make your way into the beauty niche, be sure to take a closer look.

If They Build It

DIY is a major trend. More specifically bringing out your inner home-maker is an obsession that’s been sweeping the nation. People are adding their own unique personality to their homes and are using it as a way to not only show off their skills and creativity, but also to increase the value of their property. The DIY niche can be successful at generating revenue targeting both the creative types as well as the frugal and It can bring in substantial financial returns for those that implement it wisely. As long as real estate remains a leading investment among those seeking to build their nest egg, the DIY market isn’t going anywhere. To put some numbers behind the notion, Home Depot’s 5 year trend has continued to climb upward every year by a minimum of 3 billion per year. Got an idea for a DIY? Do it yourself!

A license To Print Money

People are always looking to save money as well as make money. It’s one of the most popular niches you’ll ever come across. In fact, if you take a look at search data on Google, you’ll see some very large search terms associated with it. For example, “How to make money” receives 301,000 searches per month on Google. With this in mind, it’s quite clear that if you can move forward with a product or service that can fulfill these desires or needs, you may be on your way to greener pasture.

Food For Thought

We all have to eat. Adults and children alike love going out to enjoy a meal and the experience that goes along with it. With this in mind, the food industry can be a great niche to get involved in. If you’ve ever heard of Lee Iacocca, it was his uncle, Theodore that had the notion to begin selling hot dogs in 1922. By 1929, when the great depression hit and many were struggling to survive, the hot dog business pushed through the tough times and still continues it’s success today. It’s worth noting that while simple foods have been the main offering during previous times, in recent years, fast food chains have been offering healthier options that cater to the health conscious and those that stay within a strict diet. Focusing on these niche eaters such as vegetarians, vegans and gluten free eaters could be a great place to start bringing in the bread.

Cook The Books

In many cultures food is a foundation that brings people together across the world. Whether it be a dinner for two or a family feast come holiday time, products that can help facilitate the preparation of a meal offer a huge opportunity. An interesting consideration with regard to this market is the benefits that your product offers. Saving money, time, adding health benefits or simply adding a level of fun to the ordinary tasks involved in food prep can certainly bring home the bacon.

Don’t Take The Chill Pill

Whether we like it or not, taking care of one’s health is a part of life. No one likes getting sick or having health problems but we’re all forced to deal with this throughout our journey on this planet. With this in mind, products such as vitamins, supplements and herbs have huge potential. And unfortunately people that are facing health challenges have no choice but to seek proper solutions. This presents a tremendous opportunity. Additionally, as people are less frequently visiting doctors, due to a large percentage of the population being uninsured or underinsured, topicals, ingestibles and other types of natural solutions are growing in popularity at an incredible pace. According to the CRN (The Council for Responsible Nutrition) as of 2014 over 68% of Americans take some sort of vitamins or supplements and over 80% express overall confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements. Be sure to examine the health supplement niche closely when you’re ready to get your bank account in shape.

The Show Must Go On

Throughout time entertainment has always had a stronghold on society. From ancient Rome, where tens of thousands of people often decided the fate of those less fortunate, to present day video games where players of all ages obsess over conquering new journeys on screens of all sizes; entertainment presents a massive opportunity that seemingly is not going to disappear anytime soon. And with the numerous channels for engagement as well as distribution, there has not been a better time to take advantage of the entertainment niche. Music, movies, TV shows, apps, games… the opportunity is seemingly endless. Just be careful that whatever moves you make are well thought out. One wrong move can put you in the land of misfit toys with the ever so unpopular “BetaMax”.

Knock Knock

Even though these categories are each unique, they all offer great opportunity for success. Be sure to do plenty of research with regard to competition, technology, desire and trends related to anything that may be relevant. While these are some niches that have stood the test of time, as our current environment moves at such a frantic pace, be sure to stay current with as many resources as you can and be on the lookout for any challenges people are having with current solutions and with solutions that are yet to be created. Once you’ve got yourself a solid foundation, make sure to continue doing your homework and plan properly so when you’re ready, your infomercial production and marketing strategy will knock it out of the park. Onward!

How does the infomercial in Washington impact DRTV?

How does the infomercial in Washington impact DRTV?

The infomercial pitchmen in Washington who have been posturing for the past several months, not with upsells and shipping, but with our very financial health, have lost the trust of a large percentage of the American public. I wonder if the public now trusts infomercials more than Washington. I would venture to say yes. However, with consumer confidence at an all time low, and spending down, how are we going to get consumers to buy DRTV products? The answer is simple. Offer value. Offer products and services that save people time, save them money, solve every day problems. Doctor visits are down. Offer non medical alternatives to conditions people suffer from. Home prices are down. Offer ways to make the home more appealing and adding value to the home on limited resources. Professional services are down. Offer people empowering ways to help make their own decisions about important aspects of their lives. Let’s win the public by offering them things that will help them feel smarter, more attractive, healthier, more fit, more financially savvy, etc. Let’s create powerful advertising that can win them over by showing them another way to help solve problems. Let’s be better pitchmen than the fools in Washington who have lost our confidence and let’s offer up great products and services that people can believe in.