The Value in
32 | RESPONSE AUGUST 2017 | WWW.RESPONSEMAGAZINE.COM
The financial services and insurance industries were in a pioneering group that caught onto the value of “going direct” to consumers ages ago, and they’ve been honing their D-to-C advertising messages ever since. As the direct approach became a mechanism of choice for a wider group of
advertisers — and as digital, social, and mobile entered the picture
— both industries were standing by, waiting eagerly to fold these
new direct channels under their advertising umbrellas.
In many cases, these firms were already using direct response TV to reach into
consumers’ living rooms and speak directly to them through the TV medium. Using
a mix of short-form and long-form shows, financial services firms used the longer
advertising formats to tell their stories, offer testimonials, and convince viewers that
their products and services would make their lives easier, safer, and — in some cases
— more financially secure.
When the digital era hit, companies like Colonial Penn Life Insurance were ready
to jump in and add online, mobile, social, and other channels to their direct portfoli-
os. “DRTV is an anchor for us, and it really helps drive awareness and response across
a variety of mediums like direct mail,” says Joel Schwartz, president, “but now we’re
also doing a lot more web and digital to support those efforts.”
Adding digital, mobile, and social to the mix has helped companies like Colonial
Penn offset rising media costs and the perception that fewer people are watching and/
or engaging with TV in the “traditional” sense. Coming off the 2016 election year,
for example, Schwartz says tighter inventory and higher media costs were expected to
“shift back to normal” in 2017.
But this hasn’t happened. In fact, Schwartz says he’s seen more general advertisers
across all industries purchasing less upfront media. Now those same advertisers are try-ing to negotiate with the networks and broadcasters to buy up remnant space that was
historically reserved mainly for DRTV advertisers.
“What they’re willing to pay for the remnant space, compared to what they used
to pay for the upfront space,” says Schwartz, “is proportionately higher than a typical
DRTV advertiser is willing to pay for that space.”