Television is an advertising powerhouse. From the Super Bowl to your regular scheduled programming, almost everyone has a commercial or two they can recall that left a lasting impression. Each year, companies spend millions and millions of dollars on TV commercials for a very good reason: they work. In fact, a study conducted in 2019 found that for every dollar spent on TV marketing, advertisers gained an average of $6.50 in return.
Of course, the creation of a TV commercial involves a lot of moving parts. Have you thought about creating a TV commercial, but don't know where to start? The following information will discuss 5 tips on how to develop a highly effective ad for television.
1. Choose Your Subject
Before you can dig into the details of the commercial, you need to identify the subject of your ad. Of course, your subject will depend on your current business needs, circumstances, and opportunities. Some possibilities may include:
- Advertising a new store location
- Marketing a new product or service
- Spreading news about updated product features
- Initiating a brand awareness campaign
Whatever the case may be, make sure that you don't "put the cart before the horse" when developing your commercial. Choose a subject that will truly benefit your business, and go from there. Seeking advice from outside professionals, such as an experienced media partner, can help you to choose the right subject at the right time.
2. Determine Your Desired Call-to-Action
Publishing a commercial without a clear call-to-action is like mailing an empty box to your consumers: the message reaches them, but there's no substance to it. If you want your viewers to take action after watching your ad, you need to easily guide them in the direction you want them to go. For example:
- Do you want to increase foot traffic in your store? Your CTA could be: "Visit us today!"
- Do you want your viewers to visit your company's website? Perhaps you could conclude the ad with: "Be sure to check us out at [website address]."
- Do you want to drive more phone calls to your office? Your call to action could be: "Call us at [phone number] to book an appointment."
3. Write Your Script
The script for your commercial is perhaps the single most important creative component in the entire project. After all, without a script in place, your voice actors will have nothing to say, and your director will have nothing to shoot!
The question is, how should you go about writing your script? You may need to seek help from a reputable media partner to come up with a truly sparkling composition. However, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure that your script fits within your ad's run time. For instance, a script that requires 40 seconds of film won't work for a 20-second commercial.
- The preferred layout for a commercial script is two columns: the left-hand column for the ad's visuals, and the right-hand column for the dialogue.
- Read your script out loud to make sure that your dialogue's timing corresponds to the matching visuals. Edit as needed.
- Stay away from off-tone word choice or humor that viewers may find inappropriate.
4. Choose Who Will Be In Your Commercial
For live-action commercials, it's important to select people that can effectively convey the tone and sensibility of your ad. That could be your employees, customers, or an actor. Each of these options serve different purposes. For example, if you are running a branding awareness campaign, utilizing those who work for your company will help to put a face to the name. If you’re trying to show the results of your product or service, consider incorporating customers and their stories. Depend on your overall objectives and budget, a media partner can help you decide who is the best fit to deliver the message.
5. Plan Your Shot List
Finally, you'll need to plan out your shot list before shooting begins. You'll need to answer the following questions:
- Where will we shoot the commercial? On a set, or on location?
- How many shots will we need?
- Will we need a B-roll (a supplemental camera angle)?
By planning out your shots in detail, you'll save quite a bit of time. This can be especially crucial when you're working under a deadline.
How Things Have Changed Due to COVID-19
The way TV commercials are produced has changed significantly since the current pandemic broke out in early March. However, determined advertisers have found methods of safely continuing production without sacrificing quality. For instance, the process of making a commercial in the midst of COVID-19 may include:
- Socially distanced filming (cast and crew stay 6 or more feet apart at all times)
- Filming on location after hours (when it's less crowded)
- Additional pre-planning to ensure a safe and clean environment
- Limits to the number of people allowed on set
- A more strategic approach to the post-editing process (so that fewer people are involved)
- Recycling past creative whenever possible
It takes quite a bit of planning and forethought to create a truly successful TV commercial. By implementing the 5 tips discussed above (and observing safety guidelines related to COVID-19) you can develop an ad that will grab the attention of your audience and drive business results.
While you may be able to handle everything on your own, it is often wiser (and easier) to work with a media partner in the production of your next commercial. Your media partner will have the knowledge, resources, and equipment to produce a high-quality commercial. The bottom line is: if you want the best results from your ad, then you should work with the best people for the job.