Like direct mail, print ads or email, there are numerous ways to execute an infomercial. They can be entertaining, informative, emotional or a combination of characteristics. But as Henry Ford might have said if he were in the business “You can have an infomercial in any length you like, as long as it’s 28 minutes and 30 seconds.”
Numerous formats have been tried over the years, from game shows and telethons to live auctions and home shopping shows. However, the formats shown below are most common and are generally used for products ranging in price from $30 to $300. Many infomercial producers will combine attributes of several formats to suit their specific need, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.
While there are a variety of formats that are used we’ve set a standard that’s tried and true. The right combination of stories and testimonials, product benefits, features and the right host, make all the difference.
Most common infomercial formats:
|Format||What it is||Pros||Cons||Best for|
|Demonstration||Show that highlights the product in action||Gets viewer engaged, entertaining||Highly dependent on presenter skill. Hard sell approach may not be right for retail brands.||Demonstrable products such as cleaning products and housewares. Good for launching products for retail.|
|Storymercial||Fictional story that draws on emotion||More upscale, riveting||Higher risk of poor performance||Better for some retail brands where image is key|
|Documercial||News show/ documentary format||Information packed, promotes more upscale positioning||More expense and more time to produce. Less entertaining.||Higher priced products of $100+|
|Brand Demand||Usually a demonstration format that also pushes people to purchase by phone, web AND a retail outlet||Opens product to other 99% of audience who never buy from TV||Can hurt TV sales if same offer is made on TV as available in retail. Retailer approval of infomercial often required.||Launching new products at retail, or driving sales of existing retail products through various channels. Often used buy large retailers.|
|Talk Show||Panel of people talk about the product or service||Low budget||Must be carefully scripted to hold interest||Non-demonstrable self-improvement products or money-making schemes|
Regardless of format, successful infomercials follow an established marketing and advertising protocol called AIDA.
A = Attention – Capture the attention of the viewer
I = Interest – Create interest through demonstration, testimonials, statistics
D = Desire – Translate product features to benefits to the viewer. Make them NEED your product.
A = Action – Get them to pick up the phone right now by making the offer exclusive and irresistible!