The term infomercial has been around now for some 20 years or so. Literally, the word infomercial itself is the almalgamation of the terms “information” and “commercial.” But figuratively, the term refers to pre-produced TV advertisements which are highly informative and are designed to drive the viewer to take some sort of consumer action. These types of advertisements are known as direct response advertising.
In today’s world and terms, the word infomercial specifically refers to half hour programming. A combination of sales, entertainment and demonstration, infomercials are very effective in driving viewers to either call or go online to take advantage of a limited time offer. Each infomercial is 28 minutes and 30 seconds in run time length, much like the standard sitcom program. The difference between this produced or “paid programming” is that there are no advertiser breaks during an infomercial. Rather, the infomercial contains three calls to action, at which point the viewer is asked to call or go online for more info, or to order, get free information, etc.
The standard infomercial is structured around three main pods or segments, each about 8 minutes long, with the call to action at the end of each pod. These pods generally tell the story of the product, expound on the features and benefits, contain compelling real user testimonials and entertaining demonstrations.
Infomercial is a term that also has been applied to shorter direct response advertising units such as one minute and two minute commmercials with an offer and call to action. Today these shorter units are known as short form commercials or spots, versus infomercial.
So, what is an infomercial? With the right product, offer and creative, an infomercial can be the launch to an instant new brand.