Differences between Commercials and Infomercials



 Video advertising has cemented itself within our culture. To the point where it’s hard to think of what television and the internet was before these ads were everywhere. Two titans of this area of marketing are the commercial, the standard short advertisement that many of us consider to just be time fodder to fill the gaps in breaks between our normally scheduled programming, and the infomercial, longer more detailed ads that have a specific audience. These two marketing tactics have influenced the purchases of countless products across the globe.

These are effective since they're on at any given moment. No need to pick up a newspaper or buy a magazine full of companies. What sets these two apart are a number of characteristics that are actually interchangeable. Certain commercials utilize tactics found in infomercials and vice versa.

Commercials are to get the attention and intrigue of someone who's watching television. Whether it be to shock them, make them laugh, or even annoy them. They often have less than 30 seconds to make their case so there's no room for buildup or character development. Ones with actors often show a relatable situation that catches the attention of the everyman/everywoman. Often the scenario is literally read out for the viewer. Comedic skit, grave realistic facts, mascots, celebrities, and more are implemented to gain our attention. If a company has an established history, they'll simply stick their name onto a video, and it's enough to garner results. Some commercials themselves have gone down in history for being iconic. 

Infomercials are technically a type of commercial. However the stark difference makes it very much its own type of advertising. They're much longer, their time slots can be as long as a scheduled program. Short ones are about triple the time of a normal commercial. Along with the added time, they also have a slightly different method of gaining customers. Commercials attempt to impact you, and make an impression on anyone watching in a short amount of time. Infomercials target specific people. They grab your attention by asking specific questions. They'll show a clip asking "is this you". After they've caught their audience, they present the product or service, and they supply a toll free number. Infomercials are mainly used to provide products that make life easier and thrive on impulse buys by using terms like "if you call now". They also present half the deal at the beginning, and towards the end they double the offer. Overall infomercials have a more detailed and commitment based approach.

These two can often be mistaken for one another since there's no standards rule book saying you can't borrow tactics from the other. Often short infomercials or longer commercials will take ideas from their counterparts. Both commercials and infomercials play a substantial part in advertising for companies across the globe.