If you’re looking for a way to create amazing YouTube ads (especially for Ecommerce), look no further than classic infomercial ads.
Before iOS updates, cross platform attribution, and account bans ... There were infomercials.
And we have it so easy nowadays. Can you imagine having to deal with manually tracking paper checks or COD orders? Negotiating ad placements & bids over the phone? Or delivering unique trackable BetaMax tapes to hundreds of broadcasters across the country?
With all those obstacles, the ads back then had to be really good to be worth all that effort.
Let’s take a look at one of the best infomercial offers of all time: the Ginsu knife - a 43 year-old direct response offer that generated over $500 million in sales strictly via short direct response infomercials.
What’s really exciting is this: the context for YouTube instream ads and vintage direct response TV infomercial ads like these are amazingly similar. Which means you can basically swipe the exact approach that worked 40+ years ago, and apply it to the YouTube ads you are running right now.
In both cases, you need to:
- Have a strong “Pattern Interrupt” to grab attention right away - since your ad shows to people who are waiting to watch what they actually want to watch.
- Have an amazing product solving a genuine need.
- Clearly demonstrate the product’s unique benefits.
- Keep your audience engaged & avoid boredom by keeping a fast pace with quick cuts.
- Create an irresistible offer, urgency, and a clear call to action (CTA) that compels people to pick up the phone (or click) right then and there before the ad disappears.
... All within just a minute or so of airtime.
Ready to take a closer look at one of the highest performing video ads of all time, and “steal” the winning formula to make your YouTube ads perform?
Let’s dive in …
4 Keys to Success
Key #1 - Strong Pattern Interrupt in the first 5 seconds
Here are the first 5 seconds of this video: “In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife”, while a karate expert impressively breaks a piece of wood in half with his bare hand with a loud “Kiya!”
... Followed by “... but this method doesn’t work with a tomato” as the karate chop messily crushes a tomato:
Key point: These two intro clips excite and engage.
The Karate chop evokes a “Wow!” while the squished tomato gets a “Yuck!” from the viewer.
Notice too how sound is incorporated here: the Karate expert’s loud cry. The snap of the wood. The squish of the tomato.
The sound and visuals of the first 5 seconds are very hard to ignore, which “buys” the viewer’s attention for these first seconds and beyond.
Key #2 - Vividly Demonstrate What Makes The Product Great
At 10 seconds, we are told: “That's why we use the Ginsu.”
Here we are clearly shown the amazing benefits of the Ginsu knife, in a vivid demonstration:
The Ginsu is SHARP:
- “The Ginsu can cut a slice of bread so thin you can almost see through it.”
- “It cuts meat better than an electric knife.”
- “And goes through frozen food as though it were melted butter.”
The Ginsu STAYS sharp, even after crazy amounts of use:
- “It can cut through a tin can and still slice a tomato like this.”
- “It can chop wood and still remain razor-sharp.”
- “It's a knife that will last forever.”
Key #3 - Avoid Boredom With Quick Cuts
Quick, exciting clips are crucial when you’re trying to hold a viewer’s attention when they really want to be doing something else.
Do not bore them.
Notice how Ginsu holds the viewer’s attention by using exciting, unique demonstrations each lasting less than 3 seconds.
Key #4 - “But Wait! There’s More…” Manufacturing a Great Offer with “Reverse Negotiation”
Notice the question asked at 36 seconds: “How much would you pay for a knife like this?
Here Ginsu is asking the viewer to set a fair price internally. “What would I actually pay for this?”
But once the question of price is brought up, even MORE value is added to the offer:
You also get:
- A matching fork to make carving up meat even easier
- A 6-in-1 kitchen tool
- A decorative carving knife
True to Keys #2 and #3 above, each new bundled product is shown in vivid action with quick cuts.
And then they do it again!
58 seconds in, after revealing these valuable items that are also included in the deal, the video asks the same question again:
“How much would you pay for all these items?
But wait there’s more! You also are going to get:
- Set of Ginsu steak knives
- A Spiral Slider cutter
Notice the “Reverse Negotiation” tactic here. In normal negotiations, a buyer would set a price and then the seller would negotiate to deliver the same value but for more money. But in this case, the buyer is being asked to set a price internally and when they have that price in mind, Ginsu adds even MORE value - making the deal even more of a “no brainer” for the buyer.
What are YOUR Takeaways from this Infomercial?
Go ahead and watch the Ginsu ad yourself.
What are your takeaways? How can you apply the lessons from this time-tested ad, to your own YouTube ads?
What other infomercials have you seen that you think could apply to YouTube?
Let us know in the Comments below!
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Have a great week!
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