Spot or Half-Hour Infomercial?

Once you’ve decided to use the power of direct response television advertising (infomercials) to increase sales and promote your product one of the first questions that come up is:

“Do I need a full half hour infomercial or should we consider a short form commercial?”
First, a short form spot is generally anything under 120 seconds and a “half-hour” infomercial is 28 minutes and 30 seconds. There are many factors that go into deciding which format is best suited to each product. However, there are a number of basic questions we ask that can give us a general idea of which format is best suited to your product.

  • What’s the TV price of the product?
  • Does the product require an explanation or can it be demonstrated quickly and clearly?
  • Are you trying to directly sell on TV (oxy clean for $19.95) or are you generating leads (mortgage company, health insurance, etc.)
  • Do you have testimonials and success stories?
  • Who is your demographic? Everyone… Only Men… Men over 55, etc.
  • And finally, what’s your budget?

Some products are made for short form spots. They are low ticket items ($29.99) or less and can be explained and demonstrated fairly quickly. Products that require a little more explanation, or have enough of a story to tell, with before and after pictures, demonstrations, product comparisons, testimonials are more suited to half hour infomercials.

The reason this is a critical decision, is because they are really apples and oranges. Short form spots and half hour shows do not translate equally when it comes to performance. Which means you could have a successful infomercial that does not work as a short form spot and a spot that doesn’t work as an infomercial. So this is an important decision that can impact the success of your marketing.

Product Price Points Matter:
As a general rule of thumb the highest price you really want to even consider for a hard offer, short form commercial is $39.95… and really most successful short form commercials are priced at $19.95 or less. In fact many marketers are trending towards products priced at $10 or below, because those are the numbers that are working. However, when I am referring to the price, I am referring only to what we call “Hard Offers”. A Hard Offer is when the commercial tells you the price- “call now and get this incredible slicer dicer for the unbelievable low price of just $19.95″ – That’s a Hard Offer.

Short form commercials are also perfectly suited to lead generation; a product or service where no direct price is listed, and the viewer is asked to call for more information, visits a website, etc. This is also referred to as a 2 step sale and is ideal for mortgage companies, services, or high ticket items where the price is not disclosed until they call… “Call now and get this free Bow-flex DVD and find out how you can get into the best shape of your life in just 10 minutes a day”, etc.

Half-hour infomercials are much better suited to higher ticket items where the value of the product or service needs some explanation, demonstration, and time to build the value in the viewer’s minds. The price of the product can range from $50 to thousands of dollars. It really just depends on what you’re selling. And infomercials also have hard and soft offers and they are many variations of program styles to suit your project.

Cost Differences in Production

There are many factors that go into the creation of a budget but for the purposes of comparison I will use a mid-range budget.

  • Short from spot can range from $20K to $50K
  • Infomercials can range from $85K to $250K

As a final note there are many factors what go into the decision of short form commercials vs. half hour infomercials, and both have their pros and cons. Short form commercials are easier to buy media for with greater frequency across more channels, but infomercials give you a lot more time on TV at a much lower cost per minute than spots.

There are certainly many more talking points such as ultimately the goal of the campaign (retail distribution, continuity programs, etc.) to consider. Please use this as a preliminary guideline in your research, but we always recommend getting all of the facts, specific to your project from industry professionals. Give IntelliVision a call.  Our consultations are always confidential and free of charge. 1-888-575-3788

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