Want to learn how to create YouTube ads that sell?
Study proven TV infomercials.
Why? Well for starters, the TV infomercial game is ruthless. You can’t throw a couple $100/day campaigns up and pause everything when the numbers aren’t backing out.
Instead, you’re writing 5-figure checks to pay for ad placements in advance.
And every single second of that 60 second commercial needs to deliver results.
So let’s take a look at one of the greats from the TV infomercial space:
A TV infomercial that generated over $100 million in sales, in just 18 months.
(All while starting an on-the-couch fitness phenomenon that’s still going strong in WalMarts worldwide.)
That’s right, today we’re going to be taking notes on Suzanne Somer’s 1991 ThighMaster ad.
So if you sell anything in the fitness, women’s beauty, or ecommerce space? (heck, if you sell anything at all online with video…)
...You’re going to want to pay close attention to this ad and how it leverages:
- Unique Mechanism
- Feature / Benefit Stacks
- Social Proof
...To put a spin on womens’ health & beauty & sell a great offer with a great video ad.
Make no mistake: Nail these elements in your YouTube ad, and you too will scale to the moon.
Let’s dive in!
[00:00 - 00:05] Grabbing initial attention
On TV (just like for the YouTube instream placement) the first 5 seconds is critical for grabbing attention & convincing the viewer to stick around long enough to hear more about the offer.
This video starts with a pair of toned legs in high heels walking on screen. Great pattern interrupt. The off-screen dialogue does a great job of grabbing attention too:
Man: "Great legs!"
Woman: "Thank you!"
Man: "How did you get them?"
How? We’re about to find out in the next section ...
[00:05 - 00:09] Presenting the bold promise with massive credibility / social proof
Here in 00:05 - 00:09 the mystery woman with these legs is revealed.
t's none other than famous 80s TV sitcom star Suzanne Somers!
Here’s what Suzanne has to say in this section about how she got these great legs:
“I used to do aerobics till I dropped, then I found ThighMaster”
We get the "big promise" here in the first ~9 seconds of the video:
“Use ThighMaster to get amazing legs like Suzanne Somers”
Or to take it one step deeper:
“Become more youthful and attractive by using ThighMaster”
Think about the conversation going on in our viewer’s mind here:
“Oh wow, so ThighMaster is how she got these great legs? What is a ‘ThighMaster’? And is it really possible for ME to use it myself to get legs like these?”
Our viewer’s interest is piqued. But several questions remain:
- "What is ThighMaster?"
- "Does it really work?"
- "Will it work for me? (I’ve tried other workouts before that didn’t work)"
- "How easy it is to use? (I’ve tried other workouts before that were too difficult)"
The next sections deliver answers to these questions - both by what’s said and equally (if not more) important - what’s demonstrated on-screen...
[00:09 - 00:18] Introducing unique mechanism
So what exactly is this ThighMaster? In this next segment, we see Suzanne using it:
Here’s Suzanne telling us exactly how ThighMaster works and how it helps her get those legs:
“Every single time you squeeze ThighMaster you strengthen and tone right where you need it so it's easy to squeeze your way to shapely hips and thighs.”
Feature: ThightMaster strengthens your legs right where you need it.Benefit: As a result, it's easy to get shapely hips and thighs.Proof: Celebrity with great legs (Suzanne Somers) is saying it while using the product
- Why ThighMaster works so well
- Explains ease of use
- Demonstrates ease of use (there she is, sitting comfortably on the couch and squeezing her way to great legs, without any strain at all! Look at that smile!)
The longer 90 second version of this infomercial actually goes into more detail on this “ease of use point” while also answering the objection, “I’ve tried other workouts before that didn’t work for me. How is ThighMaster different?”
This split screen shows Suzanne using thigh master while watching TV, sunbathing by her pool, talking on her phone at her grand piano, and (possibly?) even on the toilet! Amazing! So easy to use!
Note how this cleverly answers the objection around what makes ThighMaster different:
“But I’ve tried other workout programs in the past and they didn’t work for me. In fact, I didn’t even actually do them. How is ThighMaster different?”
Here's what Suzanne says:
“My problem with most exercise programs is finding time to do them. That's not a problem with ThighMaster. It's quick and easy and you can use it anytime.”
At this point we're clear that ThighMaster is truly easy to use. But more questions remain... Our viewer might be wondering:
“I get it that Suzanne uses it and it works for her. But will it really work for me? Will it work for a normal woman who’s NOT a celebrity?”
[00:18-00:22] “Everyperson” Social Proof + Additional Implied Benefit
Here in the next section a non-celebrity "normal" woman pops on screen and subtly presents ThighMaster as not only a great way to tone her legs, but lose weight as well:
She explains: “I thought I'd never fit into these jeans again. Thank You ThighMaster!”
Notice the believability/credibility added by having a normal woman (not Suzanne Somers) praising results from ThighMaster.
She even mentions how her clothes fit better - could the ThighMaster actually help you lose weight too? Of course it could!
***Side Note on Early Call To Action***
Notice how even this early in the video, they already show the Call To Action (CTA) - the 800 number to the sales line - for anyone who is already convinced and wants to buy now. Just like with YouTube in-stream ads, we want to make sure the viewer has enough time to actually take action and take the next step with the offer.
[00:23 - 00:25] Authority Social Proof
Ok so we've heard Suzanne talk about it... We've heard the girl-next-door talk about it...
And now we also have a real-life MD surgeon adding massive credibility to all claims being made:
“I recommend it, and use it.”
Although sadly we don't get to examine the doctor's legs here (I'm sure they're well toned), this doctor’s recommendation helps make all claims in the video more believable, answering the objection “does it really work?” while also alluding to the safety of the product.
(If it didn’t work and wasn’t safe, how could a real-life surgeon put his name out and recommend the product? Of course not!)
In the longer 90 second version of this infomercial, Dr. Gould goes into even more detail about why it works, giving a very basic explanation “why” it works:
“ThighMaster isolates and strengthens these muscles right here. That's why it works so quickly. That's why I recommend it and use it myself.”
Oh ok Dr. Gould, THAT'S why it works! I get it.
Feature: “ThighMaster isolates and strengthens these muscles right here.”Benefit: “That's why it works so quickly.”Proof: “That's why I recommend it and use it myself.”
So to sum up the promise: Use ThighMaster to isolate & strengthen “these” muscles, and get quick results (i.e. legs like Suzanne Somers), guaranteed by a doctor.
Stack that Proof:Notice the variety of people we’ve now heard ThighMaster's praises from:
- A celebrity (Suzanne Somers)
- A “normal” woman
- An authority (Surgeon Dr. Herbet L. Gould, MD)
But maybe you’re still not convinced yet.
So the next section explains more about ThighMaster’s Unique Mechanism - exactly why ThighMaster works so well for everyone.
[00:25 - 00:29] Further explaining unique mechanism & how it delivers results
“The secret to shapely thighs is exercising these muscles with just the right resistance.”
Here we are heaping more proof onto that promise + unique mechanism, by explaining & demonstrating the device in action.
Look at those arrows! So those are the secret muscles you need to exercise to get great legs!
Simple diagrams / visual explanations like this are a great way to make the unique mechanism understandable.
And when your unique mechanism is understandable, the viewer gets that “hey, I get how this works!” moment, and believes that it will work.
Key Point: Don’t just say it. Say it and SHOW it.
(Again: Notice also the CTA phone number for those folks already ready to buy)
[00:29 - 00:33] Adding More Features + Benefits
More evidence that it works:
“This balanced resistance coil is designed to give you results quickly and comfortably.”
Here we present the viewer with another feature (“balanced resistance coil)” and corresponding benefit (“results quickly & comfortably”), while showing yet another set of toned legs relaxing while using the ThighMaster.
[00:34 - 00:37] Not just for her! (Added value via additional use case)
Here we add additional value to the offer by showing a secondary use case for the product:
Upper body training for women and men:
In case you thought ThighMaster was just for your legs - or even just for the ladies…
Nope! Ladies - your man will love the ThighMaster too for getting those pumped up biceps!
This particular 3 second clip has some interesting/subtle/downright comical implied benefits:
- ThighMaster = Quality time together as a couple
- Not only will you become a more attractive woman, ThighMaster is also going to help your man get ripped like this guy!
- Your man (current one or new one you will attract thanks to ThighMaster) will be transfixed by your newfound beauty (courtesy of ThighMaster), unable to take his eyes off you like this guy
- Increased perceived value / reduced purchase resistance: (you’re getting a product not just for you, but for your partner too)
[00:38 - 00:40] Reiterating the main promise
Again in this segment we have Suzanne facing camera with that million watt smile, explaining ThighMaster’s main promise again:
“ThighMaster: We may not have been born with great legs but now we can look like we were!”
Notice how this summary does a couple things:
- Main promise (become more attractive by amazing looking legs) summarized into a single sentence
- “We” phrasing implies that Suzanne’s legs are not the product of good genes or another workout, but simply the result of using ThighMaster
[00:41 - 00:50] Call to Action (CTA) Clearly & Explicitly Spelled Out
Here we transition to the full Call to Action (CTA). We have a fast yet clear-speaking male voice spelling out exactly what you need to do to order ThighMaster now:
“To order your ThighMaster call 1-800-421-2000. Have your credit card ready. Or send check or money order for $19.95 plus $4.50 for shipping and handling to this address. No CODs please.”
Notice how there is ZERO ambiguity here.
You are told exactly what to do to order:
What number to call, and to have your credit card already available and ready to pay when you do so. No credit card? No phone? You are told exactly where to send your money via snail mail.
How to apply this to YouTube ads? In the CTA, spell out exactly what the viewer should do next:
“Click the link with this video, enter your best email address on the next page, and your free download will arrive instantly.” Or “Click the link with this video to watch this video presentation before we are forced to take it down” etc. etc.
[00:51 - 00:53] Risk-Free Guarantee
No irresistible offer is complete without a risk-free guarantee:
“If you’re not fully satisfied return it in 30 days for your money back.”
[00:54 - 00:57] URGENCY + Sweetening the Deal with BONUSES
“Plus if you call right now we'll also send you Suzanne’s Slender For Life Plan absolutely free…”
2 parts to this piece:
- URGENCY - call right now (not later) to get this extra bonus
- BONUS - If you didn’t think the deal was already good enough, here’s something else that might tip you over the edge and get you to buy.
Note - additional urgency + explaining additional value of bonus (objections that the bonus addresses, etc.) could both be enhanced in this version, imo.
But notice how even in this quick 60 second video, both additional bonus value and urgency are added in to make sure there is a very compelling reason to take action right now and buy the offer.
(Even if we could enhance / amplify it a bit if we had more time in the video)
[00:58 - 01:00] Promising Fast Shipping
There’s nothing worse than when you buy that exciting Valentine’s Day gift for your partner off of Wish.com and it arrives 8 weeks later on April Fool’s day. Hate it when that happens.
The marketing geniuses at ThighMaster understood our concerns and made sure to promise fast shipping to alleviate our worries:
“...call now for quick delivery!”
If you’re selling anything via video, you’d be wise to watch this video from ThighMaster a few times and think about the points we’ve laid out here.
How well does your video stack up to ThighMaster when it comes to:
- An irresistible offer
- Compelling unique mechanism
- Believable, "stacked" social proof
- Feature / Benefit stacks that address common objections
- Ease of access (instant download, fast delivery, etc.)
Side Note: What are your Takeaways? Would this work NOW on YouTube?
Specifically - do you think this ad/offer would work on YouTube right now?
Interesting food for thought: ThighMaster’s front end price point (in 1991) was $24.45 ($19.95 + $4.50 S&H). That’s around $50 in 2021 dollars. Could it be high enough allowable CPA to make it work nowadays on YouTube?
What other takeaways did you have from this ad? Reply to this email and let us know!
What are your YouTube ad questions?
In the meantime though, what questions do YOU have about YouTube ads?
Let us know in the Comments section below, and we’ll make sure to cover your question in an upcoming post.
Have a great week!
The VidTao Team
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