Google TV Ads: upload and run commercials on national TV shows from your laptop

I ran across a report by Seth Stevenson at Slate about how he ran a TV ad on FOX from his home computer using Google TV Ads.

Here’s the video showing how he did it.

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Wacky Waiving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man

When I first saw this mock commercial on Family Guy for the Wacky Waiving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man, I nearly fell off the couch. It reminds me of my days as a TV producer for an NBC affiliate where I created some commercials that were nearly as outrageous.

Warning: If you’re at the office, turn down your audio a bit.

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Generating sales leads with TV ads

When you think of generating sales leads, you probably think of direct mail or telemarketing. But any medium can be used to generate sales leads, including TV ads.

Watch this TV ad I wrote for Sunbelt Software and then I’ll give you the 3 key tactics used in ads like this.

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Vince the ShamWow guy is flawless DRTV

Given the “love him / hate him” response to my post on Billy Mays, the king of direct response TV, I can only imagine the response I’ll get from this piece on Vince the ShamWow guy.

If you think you see a lot of Vince the ShamWow guy now, buckle up. I recently saw Vince in a new spot selling a kitchen gadget called the SlapChop. His full name, appropriately enough, is Vince Offer. And I think you’ll be seeing a lot more of Vince.

Why? Because Vince has a natural gift for the pitch. He’s quirky, cocky, glib, and quick. While he might drive you nuts if you had to spend an hour with him, he’s perfect for short form TV ads.

Most importantly, you can’t take your eye off the guy. He grabs and holds your attention.

As I pointed out in my post on Billy Mays, it really doesn’t matter if you like the commercials. What matters is what works. And Vince the ShamWow guy works.

Okay, let me have it. I’m a fan of Vince. Are you?

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Kaboom! The selling magic of Billy Mays

Billy Mays is the king of direct response TV ads.

Don’t know who Billy Mays is? Yes you do. Watch this video.

Everyone knows Billy Mays. And for good reason. While direct response TV commercials are all designed to get your attention, Billy Mays is the one pitchman who can grab your attention even if you’re in another room.

Mays started his selling career right out of high school pitching products on the Atlantic City boardwalk. He honed his craft at home shows and state fairs around the country. He became famous after meeting the founder of Orange Glo International, a manufacturer of cleaning products.

Orange Glo hired Mays to promote their various cleaners, including OxiClean, Orange Clean, and Orange Glo. Sales soared. This success propelled the company into the top 10 privately owned companies from 1999 to 2001, according to Inc. Magazine.

What makes Mays’ pitch so effective? Enthusiasm, directness, and authority. A Billy Mays pitch is packed with nonstop energy. He’s pleasant, but doesn’t joke or clown around, always getting right to the point. His voice is loud and commanding, a style perfectly suited to selling on a busy boardwalk, but also perfectly suited to breaking through to preoccupied TV viewers.

I think few would say they “like” to watch a Billy Mays commercial. He’s considered obnoxious by many. But that’s irrelevant. Just as people say they dislike catalogs while continuing to place orders, they say they don’t like Mays’ in-your-face style while emptying the store shelves of the products he pitches.

In marketing, you should learn from what works, not from what you like.

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Lying, cheating, TV ad scamming bastards!

I want to start this rant by saying I think most people in the direct marketing business are honest people. Most ads in most media adhere to most of the ethical principles of the Direct Marketing Association. And in working with more than 200 clients in a variety of industries, and getting calls from thousands of potential clients, I’ve run into only a handful of cheats.

That said, I’m angered that so many of the direct response TV ads I see are dishonest. I used to be a television commercial producer in a former life and this medium is near and dear to my heart. There are certainly scams in just about every medium, but as a TV and movie fan, I can’t seem to escape the ones I see on the tube.

What sort of scams are we talking about? Here are a few of the most popular: Read more

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The Ginsu knife school of irresistible offers

Do you remember those Ginsu knife commercials from the 1970s? They were brilliant. Watch the video below to refresh your memory. This is the original TV commercial.

Yeah, people have made fun of them over the years. But there’s a lot of great technique to be learned here no matter what medium you work in, especially in the way the offer is presented. It sells you on the idea of the knife then adds bonus after bonus until you can’t help but want to order. Today’s television ads may be a little slicker, but most direct marketers still use essentially the same formula.

I’m in the process of collecting videos related to direct marketing and advertising. So if you find one, let me know. What I have so far is mostly just fun stuff.

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