This original article appeared in the March 2016 edition of Response Magazine. It is slightly modified.
Longer TV spots — 60 and 120 seconds — are a staple of response-measured TV for a reason: they drive higher response per media dollar. That’s right, higher impact per media dollar – despite the higher fundamental cost for media time.
Yet agencies struggle to know when to use 120s, and how to make them effective. Consider brand agencies where the 30-second spot is king. I once attended an account planning conference where Chiat/Day talked through the planning that led to a 120-second Nissan spot. You’d think Chiat/Day would have made a killer 120. But I was shocked. Despite incredible production and creativity, after 30 seconds I’d gotten the entire
brand message I needed and was bored — the
extra time just didn’t deliver value.
Even many in the response TV business don’t make good use of longer times. So-called “brand response” teams tend to “skip the stone” in 60s and 120s — skipping from thought to thought without diving in (while trying to look just like a brand spot).
And, too often, traditional DRTV companies use 120s to browbeat the viewer by repeating the same message endlessly. This sometimes gets a lot of phone orders, but it always decreases retail and damages brand.
So let’s start with some “dont’s” for longer creative:
- Consumers don’t want long messages about your brand. As a result, 15- and 30-second spots are probably the perfect length for brand/lifestyle messages.
- Consumers don’t want only your big idea for 120 seconds. Big ideas can be important, but after 10 to 20 seconds, consumers want to know more.
- Consumers don’t want 120 seconds of features. Yet many brand creative teams seem to believe that the only thing other than brand/lifestyle messages are lists of features.
Here are some “do’s” for longer creative:
- Do talk about products as a way to demonstrate brand. Consumers don’t buy your brand — they buy products that represent your brand. This makes product incredibly important to them and warrants a well-constructed 60 or 120 seconds.
- Do talk seriously and honor what the consumer cares about — spending their money wisely. Consumers want to understand the products they buy.
- Do help consumers envision your product in their lives — showing value that interests them while being achievable and important.
- Do explore how features and benefits come together. Features and benefits are a package — neither exists without the other.
- Do use details to make things memorable.Big ideas stick better when there are details attached to them.
Picking a spot length is a critical strategic and a financial choice. The longer lengths are superb if product is at the core of your advertising and when building brand with product. Longer lengths are key to creating immediate demand at retail or online/by phone. Longer lengths are critical for new messages. Also remember that the DRTV rate card makes 60s and 120s affordable.
Once you choose a 60 or 120, use the time well. For example, we once tested our 60-second spot for a housewares manufacturer. Nielsen was able to compare the scores for our spot with their database of scores for 30-second brand spots. Our 60-second DR spot dramatically outperformed their database of 30-second brand spots in driving purchase intent. More surprisingly, our 60-second spot dramatically outperformed the brand spots in both brand recall and likeability.
So embrace longer lengths for their added power. But remember that while any agency can make a long ad, only a few can make it deliver big impact. Choose wisely.
Copyright 2016 – Doug Garnett – All Rights Reserved