Household names use DRTV to show off new product lines

Major brands, including 3M and Western Union, have recently turned to direct response TV to raise consumer awareness and support retail promotions. The campaigns show that well-known brands continue to shed their reluctance to use DRTV, which has long been regarded as the domain of obscure products. 

3M is using DRTV ads to show off its Lens Renewal Kit, part of its Automotive Aftermarket Division. The company, which worked with direct response agency R2C Group to create the ads, is running 60- and 120-second spots that emphasize the safety and financial benefits of the headlight cleaner. 

DRTV is an effective medium for 3M’s promotions because its product has a powerful visual appeal that can compel consumers to act in the moment, said Travis Lamb, marketing manager for the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. It is the group’s first foray into DRTV.

“For a direct response ad, it has to have that ‘wow factor,’ and this definitely does,” he said. “It takes the old, dull, hazy yellowed headlight that you see on older vehicles like the Ford Taurus and cleans it in a matter of about 15 minutes.” 

Money transfer brand Western Union also rolled out a major DRTV effort  promoting its MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard. The company created 60- and 120-second spots to promote the credit card, featuring testimonials from consumers who emphasized the simplicity and security of the cards. Throughout both ads, which were created by direct response agency Acquirgy, the company’s toll-free phone number runs across the bottom of the screen, as well as the URL 

Linda Chaney, SVP of business development at Acquirgy, said that Western Union’s decision to try DRTV for the first time is indicative of a shift to the medium by bigger and better-known brands. 

“We’ve noticed global brands that would never have considered direct response in the past are jumping in,” she said. “Direct response ads have a unique ability, through short-form and particularly long-form, to demonstrate a product that they can’t do in a traditional 30-second branding spot.” 

Industry experts say retailers stopped viewing DRTV as a competitor to the retail channel, and began looking at it as an ally that can boost recognition of a product and help to sell units. The 3M ads also promote its retail partners with some of the same characteristics as traditional advertising. 

“Traditional direct response companies are embracing more traditional advertising measurements, like gross rating points and impressions,” said Dave Savage, R2C Group partner. “You see both groups learning from each other.”

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