For Immediate Release
Tarzana, CA – FMS Direct, one of the nation’s leading direct marketing companies, announced today that it is expanding its production services to include targeted webcasts and rich media email for companies across the United States.
“This was really a natural progression of the advertising and production services we were already providing,” said Rodney Buchser, President of FMS Direct. “Now, companies across the country have the opportunity to tell their story in a web-friendly, news-style format that is not only informative, but very compelling when it comes to generating a high level of interest in a company’s products and services,” added Buchser.
Mr. Buchser, after co-founding the Financial News Network (later CNBC), launched FMS Direct to provide companies with integrated marketing and advertising solutions, including short form commercials for television, infomercials, direct response radio, internet marketing, and DVD direct videos – customized electronic sales presentations that are fast becoming one of the most powerful and convincing tools to generate sales and revenues for clients. t electronic sales presentations that are fast becoming one of the most powerful and convincing tools to generate sales and revenues for clients. “This really is an incredibly powerful sales tool for companies,” said Walter Burch, Creative Director for FMS Direct. “Now companies can have their own professionally-produced feature stories very much in the style of 60 Minutes, 20/20, or Dateline NBC – and they are produced to speak directly and credibly to the target audience,” added Burch.
About FMS Direct
Since 1983, FMS Direct has earned its reputation as one of the world's most successful direct response marketing and advertising agencies – producing more than 2000 short form commercials, 250 infomercials, and many highly successful integrated marketing campaigns for its clients. FMS Direct has generated billions of dollars in sales for companies and products from virtually every category – including financial services, personal success, , fitness and beauty, automotive, health, household products, and others.
In 2002, FMS Direct was honored by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), receiving the highest honor given to a Direct Response Advertising Agency: FMS Direct and client Monaco Financial, LLC received The Echo Award for the best advertising campaign for 2002 for Multi/Integrated Media. That same year, FMS Direct and client, Monaco Financial, LLC received the prestigious Henry Hoke Award, presented to the campaign with the “most courageous solution to a difficult sales marketing problem.”
A partial listing of FMS Direct's clients includes: Charles Schwab and Co. (SCHW), Monex Precious Metals, Experian, Dow Jones & Co. (DJ), Guthy-Renker Corporation, Holiday Spas, Investor's Business Daily (IBD), Pac-Tel Cellular, SyberVision, American Express (AXP), Edgar Morris, Inc., Medicus Formulas, Inc. (BioSlim), and Kemper Financial Services.
For more information regarding FMS Direct’s advertising, marketing, or production services, call (818)708-7814
Contact FMS Direct: (818)708-7814
Feb 1, 2006
For years, Doug Monson would attend industry meetings, only to find himself
somewhat distanced from the direct response television crowd. Huddled up
with other DR radio types, this president of Portland, Me.-based Media
Power Inc., would talk shop with them, and discuss at length the medium's
growth potential. "There was a small group of us at these trade group
meetings talking about all of the success we were having in radio," says
Finally, the offer is important, and requires tweaking in order to best meet the needs of consumers who are listening in their cars, from work or on a portable music device. "You really have to get people to act," says Burch, "and give them a reason to pick up the phone or log on to a Web site."
1. What is the state of short-form spot production today as it relates to issues and costs?
Here’s my take on the issue and costs of Short form direct response TV commercials. First, they are as popular as ever, even though the cost of production and media is rising. They are cost-effective, measurable and produce results. That’s what an advertiser wants, isn’t it? As the forerunner to the Infomercial, advertisers have been using this short form of DRTV since the introduction of the 800 telephone services and the implementation of the advanced system for “cashiering” – the credit card. These two factors also answer most questions relating to the tremendous increase of direct marketing and electronic retailing over the last three decades.
The DRTV spot is still used most effectively by those companies offering a product for $29.95 or less, or an offer for free information, generally referred to as a “Lead Generation spot” or the Two-step marketing approach.
The Two-step marketing approach is still my favorite and it’s based on what I think offers the most powerful “Trigger Effect” in DRTV, the word FREE! The first step is to get the viewer to respond to a Free Offer of some kind. It may be a Free Brochure, a video, a special report, and so forth. Now you have a “qualified prospect” for your product or service. The second step is a follow up with a direct mail piece or a telephone solicitation, or both. As a general rule, the Two-step approach is preferable when offering a product or service that has a high price point.
It’s interesting to note that there are literally hundreds of very successful short form direct response spots airing each week that never make it to the top 10 list of the monitoring services. Why? Because those services monitor mostly product-oriented DRTV spots. There are dozens of two-step lead generating spots that you can see each day, spending millions of dollars in advertising each year, but never make the list. Mortgage companies, money lenders, mutual funds, insurance companies, precious metals companies, brokerage firms and so forth. It would be interesting to see an accurate accounting for the lead generating of short form spots.
2. Is it more expensive to produce short-form spots now than in recent years? To what do you attribute this change?
In most cases, the production costs have increased over the last few years. However, like all productions, the costs vary a great deal depending on variables. Some DRTV products require more expensive spots than others do. Variables like the desired quality of image, 35mm film vs. HD vs. Digital Beta vs. Mini Digital Video. High-end computer animation and PaintBox graphics vs. lower end graphics, or no graphics. Expensive locations, studio facilities, expensive props vs. inexpensive locations and no props. Number of shoot days usually is a major factor. And then there is the creative team, producers, directors, writers and talent. Who you hire as your production team will automatically determine up to half your production budget.
Because the nature of direct response television advertising is to generate sales, and or qualified leads on an immediate basis, the bottom line is “Did the commercial work?” “Did it generate a profitable return on advertising investment?” The primary intention of the short form spot is results. Many times the most inexpensive TV commercials have worked the best for some products. However, a good high-end quality spot with powerful images aired with repetition and frequency will build better results, as well as brand name awareness of the product and company.
I have some clients that prefer to use their increased advertising budget to increase the number of DRTV spots that they can air. Quantity over Quality. They put their advertising budget into airtime. That’s okay as long as the spots you produce for them are profitable. Since you are always in a testing mode with direct response anyway, this can make sense. One of my best bits of advice to a client is “never produce just one commercial.” Why not make two or three spots using a different creative approach for each? If you plan your productions well, you should be able to produce or two or three spots at the same time, using the same locations, talent and crew for only a fraction of the overall budget. For example, to shoot one 60 second DRTV spot featuring the “Amazing New Mouse Trap” for a production cost of $30,000, why not add about 25% more to the budget and do three spots with variations on a theme. It can be done. Now, you can test the creative approach of two or three different concepts. I guarantee you that one of the spots will out pull the others in terms of response. One of my financial clients which airs DRTV spots on a cable network everyday knows exactly the results of each spot within hours of its airing. By being able to measure the results they can determine which spots are most cost-effective and profitable.
3. In your eyes, what's right and wrong with short-form spot production as it's being handled today?
I can’t say that I see anything wrong with what’s going on. Again, DRTV is advertising always about testing. In my book, CALL NOW! 1-800…. “How To Profit From Direct Response Advertising,” which was written exclusively for the direct response industry, I talk about how important it is to TEST, MEASURE, and ADJUST! TESTING, MEASURING, ADJUSTING. That’s what we DR people do, isn’t it? DRTV is always in a state of testing.
4. Can you walk me through the spot production process - from script writing to rollout?
I love the creative process of spot production, and it all starts with the Product and the Marketing Analysis. It doesn’t make sense to begin writing a script or go into a pre-production without first answering the basic marketing questions about the product, its benefits, its primary target market and so forth. If the client has not provided you a “Marketing Plan” then the first step is developing the Plan.
The Plan, which includes the creative strategic positioning of the product, becomes an invaluable and essential tool to determine the creative approach, and it will help you identify the “Marketing Formula: What + Who = How To.” This formula represents a very simple system of analysis, for example, if you know what you are selling and to whom, you can determine the “how.” The development of the Marketing Plan and the Advertising Strategic Positioning is the first step.
Here are a just few of the important items that you discover when preparing a comprehensive Marketing Plan:
5. Are there any spot production/creative terms that you can think of that we might define for readers?
In many of the short form and long form DRTV productions, we use Testimonials. There are several kinds of testimonials. Real people testimonials, for example, are actual consumers of the product or service whose experiences and expressions are filmed or video taped for use in a DRTV commercial. A Credentialized Endorsement however is any testimonial endorsement from a celebrity or a knowledgeable professional of perceived “high credibility.” Finally, you can hire an actor to provide a paid “testimonial” for a product or service.
Two other terms used in the copywriting process are Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Hypnotic Selling. Hypnotic Selling Messages– Suggestive copywriting techniques that include certain words, phrases and “style” that are compelling and persuasive. Hypnotic selling also uses words that can create “future pacing” or a strong “suggestion” that move prospects to action now and or in the future. Example, “Once you feel and hold this product in your hand, you will be so happy. It’ll make your day!” Or “After your doctor prescribes this product, and you take it, you will begin to feel relief immediately.” Suggestive copy and imbedded commands are very powerful.
NLP, as developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler, and brought into prominence by Anthony Robbins (Unlimited Power) is a scientific technology used for “influencing oneself and others” or for “getting results.” From a selling point of view, NLP has been an invaluable tool in providing the right DRTV presentation.
A general definition of NLP is the technology that can change ones behavior (Programming) by changing the way one communicates (Linguistics) to him/herself or others and "presents” information to the brain (Neural). According to NLP, people perceive and experience the world in the form of three basic modalities: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic or feeling. The basic idea of NLP is that you can influence your beliefs and feelings about anything by the way in which you communicate your thoughts and feelings (linguistics) to yourself, or others. The fundamental key initializing the powerful NLP technology in a sales presentation is to write copy that develops a rapport and resonance with the target audience. It is said that each of us will respond and relate to all three modalities but one is usually more dominant.
A Visual person will respond most effectively to words, phrases and sights that relate to vision. They will respond to words like visualize, see, imagine, watch, look, view, picture and so forth.
An Auditory person is a person who will most likely respond more to words and phrases that relate to sound and music like: hear, listen, sounds, and so forth.
The Kinesthetic person is a feeling person that responds primarily to feeling words or phrases. Naturally words like feel, feelings, touch, and sense, are triggers for the kinesthetic person. Music moves both the kinesthetic and auditory persons.
Whenever possible, a good copywriter who knows and understands the power of NLP or Hypnotic Selling will include imbedded commands, statements, suggestions (future pacing) in the copy points. In our direct response commercials or Infomercials, we actively use suggestive copy and NLP. For example, in the Infomercial for a pain relieving device entitled, “Freedom From Pain,” the voice-over introduction to the Program, as well as the opening line for each commercial, stated the following: “Imagine what it would feel like to have your pain disappear!” We also added copy like, “Hear what the experts say.” It should be obvious that we used words that would trigger a response from each of the three categories: Visual (Imagine, disappear), Auditory (Hear, say) and Kinesthetic (Feel).
6. Currently, what type of companies are using spots? Fortune 500 companies? Dot.coms? Others?
There are a growing number of companies utilizing the short form strategy. It appears financial institutions, including those in the Fortune 500, are expanding into this market. Of course, what is to be expected, virtually all of the lead generating spots are also featuring their web site address. One of my financial clients has indicated a respectable growth in sales over the Internet as a direct result of us adding their URL web site address to all of their DRTV spots.
7. How is the creative process changing when it comes to spots? Is it becoming more elaborate? More expensive?
I think the creative process for short form is every bit as challenging as that of long form. You essentially need to know the same information for a short form as you do an Infomercial. You develop the same Marketing Plan and Advertising Strategic Postioning Statements.
I would say this. Because the cost of media continues to increase, it is more and more difficult to develop a winning advertising campaign. Therefore, campaigns are now more elaborate, more thought out. This means that a creative concept may also be more expensive. It used to be you would see a product, write the script and put it on the air. Now, it takes a well conceived presentation based on research and market analysis to make a campaign succeed.
Here are two quotes that put the creative process in perspective:
“Advertising isn’t a science. It’s persuasion. And persuasion is an art.” Bill Bernback (Advertising Agency man)
“To be persuasive, we must be believable, to be believable, we must be credible, to be credible we must be truthful.” Edward R. Murrow (Legendary TV News Reporter)
8. Can you give us a few tips to keep in mind when producing a successful spot?
First, the best advertisement is a great product, so make sure the product is of high quality, priced right and that it works! Truth in advertising is always the best place to start. The truth sells! Also, remember what the late, great David Olgilvy said about creative advertising. He said, “It’s NOT CREATIVE, unless it SELLS!” The bottom line is all advertising is selling, but the results of DRTV are immediate and measurable. Therefore, if you do your homework and generate sales results, you were creative.
Secondly, as I said before, “never produce just one spot.” Find a way to at least produce two spots with a different creative approach and test the two against each other. Sometimes the only difference has to be the opening 10 seconds, the closing 10 seconds, or a different product offer, or bonus (when you call now, you’ll also get absolutely free, etc.) Be creative and you can do several spots for just an additional fraction of the original budget.
Finally, when writing, directing and producing a spot, I always go through my checklist to make sure everything is covered. For your information, here is my abbreviated DRTV Checklist of what should be included in a good direct response television commercial:
23. Close The Sale: Ask for the order always! Use professional closing techniques. Tell your audience what to do. Realize that all good sales presentations are always progressively moving the prospect to the “close.” Ask for the order always!
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