The 5 key rules of DRTV

Jun 15 2022

Direct Response TV – or DRTV –  is a form of marketing in TV which involves provoking viewers into a direct response to an ad. Ads typically feature a strong sales message and a clear call to action. This could be through a phone number to call, a visit a website or a special offer to buy.

Direct responsive advertising is a highly effective way to achieve fast results either by selling a product or a call to action with measurable revenue. In the past few years, DRTV has evolved from sales ads to storytelling devices with persuasive storylines.

Why use DRTV?

With DRTV, your brand can get instant results. Viewers are provoked into an immediate action and this can generate an influx of inbound calls, website traffic or product purchases.  One of the benefits of DRTV is targeting audiences – your creative can be optimised to target a specific group, ensuring you get your message in front of the right audience. As DRTV campaigns are directly tied to sales, it’s also easier to track the ROI of an ad campaign. Overall, you will have the opportunity to achieve a balance between promoting your brand and achieving a direct response.

In this post, we have put together the 5 key rules to create a captivating DRTV campaign:

A clear call-to-action

It is crucial for DRTV to have a clear message that the consumer can easily understand. Brand logos should appear present throughout the duration of the ad so that viewers tuning in at any given moment are aware of who’s behind the advert. An end screen should also prompt viewers into what they need to do next – take up a special offer, buy, visit a website, or in Blue Cross‘ case below, donate to the charity.


Stick to brand fonts and colours

Most ads are 30″ long, so viewers do not have enough time to digest text unless it’s simple and easy to read. Italic or serif fonts are a no go. Stick to fonts and colours that adhere to your brand guidelines and keep text to a minimum. Lower thirds are typically introduced a third way into a DRTV ad to establish credibility and provide further information.

Keep your narrative simple

Avoid confusing language that can mislead viewers. One of the hallmarks of a successful DRTV ad is to keep narratives simple and digestible.  If you’re advertising a product, visual demonstrations will be the most beneficial. What does your product/service do? Why do viewers need it? What are its benefits. Language with a sense of urgency such as, ‘Hurry only while stocks last’ or ‘offer ends on…’ can provoke an immediate response too.

Identify a problem and provide that solution

What problem does your product or service solve? State what it is and how your product/service solves it. A persuasive and compelling creative ensures the effectiveness of a DRTV ad, convincing viewers that you provide a solution to a problem. For example in charity ads, emotionally-triggering visuals are often used to provoke a direct response from viewers who may then be willing to donate to a cause.

Find an experienced team

On the hunt for a DRTV production team? It’s essential to work with a knowledgeable and experienced team that has bags of experience in production, as well as in ad clearance and creative executions for audience testing. Whittle down your list to those with experience within your sector. They’re well placed to understand the best practices for making DRTV ads in your field. A production partner that is familiar with optimising ads can help extend your DRTV into an integrated digital campaign.

Skylark Media has over 15 years of experience in video production and video marketing. Based in Bristol, Skylark is proud to be AdGreen sustainability trained, an AdSmart partner and Clearcast accredited.

Ezo Yildiz

Ezo is a Digital Content Producer intern at Skylark Media.