TV advertising should be considered an integral part of an overall video marketing strategy. With hundreds of TV channels now available, TV advertising is ubiquitous.
However, TV commercials are, by design, short and sweet. Employing a TV commercial as part of a larger video marketing strategy will exponentially increase the distribution of your message about your product or service.
When was TV Advertising Born?
Can you imagine a world without TV advertising? It would be hard to overstate the impact that TV commercials have had on businesses around the globe.
It was July 1, 1941. The Brooklyn Dodgers were facing the Philadelphia Phillies at Ebbets Field when WNBT in New York aired what many consider to be the nation’s first official TV Commercial. The ad was for the Bulova Watch Company, and was called “Bulova Time Check.” It was approximately 10 seconds and reportedly cost nine dollars to make.
The Phillies won the game 6 to 4, in ten innings. And after overwhelming success, the ten second Bulova commercial changed advertising forever.
What Makes a Great Commercial?
TV commercials and the role of TV in our lives has changed significantly since 1941, but it is still an effective medium and should not be dismissed.
Interestingly enough, TV advertising has shifted from focusing on the product to focusing on the story and emotion associated with the product. The car company Subaru is a perfect example of this.
In a 2013 Adweek article, Alan Bethke, director of marketing and communications for Subaru of America said, “If you ask a Subaru owner what they think of their car, more times than not, they’ll tell you they love it… it was always in front of us, but never utilized in the market.”
In 2008, Subaru’s marketing agency Carmichael Lynch launched a campaign with the simple theme of “love.” Since then, Subaru commercials have pulled at our heartstrings with stories of love, dependability, longevity and safety. One of my personal favorites is the Subaru Reunion commercial, with the tagline, “It’s true, you never forget your first Subaru.”
Was the commercial about a car? In a basic, general way - yes. But in a subtle, yet more impactful way, it was more about the emotion and love associated with a special time in our lives. Everyone remembers their first love, and when they watch this commercial, it makes them feel nostalgic of a time, a place and yes, maybe a car. Viewers instinctually connect the warm and special feelings of nostalgia with Subaru. It’s not surprising that this campaign helped Subaru reach record sales numbers.
TV Commercial Production Doesn’t Need a $100,000+ Budget to be Good or Effective.
Prior to working at InnerAction Media, I was a long format TV Producer. During that time, local TV Commercials always involved bad graphics, bad audio and bad production quality. But why?
Because technology was limited and only available to a big budget customers.
Things have changed.
Technology allows us to work with digital content, which is exactly what the big firms use and results in the same high quality production value. As important is the "local knowledge" advantage that local productions bring, a good story and script is always essential. Using things like local landmarks, people, phrases and peculiarities can help pique the interest of viewers. When they see recognizable faces and places, it makes viewers feel like the business knows and understands them. It also reminds them of the importance of supporting local business.
If you want some inside tips on how to save money for your corporate video production, which can apply to TV commercials, click here.
How Can You Produce a Good Commercial?
At InnerAction Media, we produce a lot of different types of videos: Image films, testimonials and recruitment films to name a few. And although they may differ in tone, style or theme, the type of pre-production work is basically the same.
Once we know what kind of commercial we are going to produce, our process is pretty standard:
- Scripting: A good video ad tells a good story. The story is what drives potential customers to want to watch more. Whether the potential customer laughs, cries or something in between, a good commercial evokes emotion. And, if a client can do this, viewers will remember your business when it matters.
- Shot List and/or Storyboard: It’s hard to film from a script alone. To turn your ideas and vision into a commercial, clients need to put together a shot list and/or a storyboard. Storyboarding is particularly helpful for your camera operators so they can visualize how you want the commercial to look. A shot list is essential because it is a list of everything you need to get your shooting done – from the order you’ll be filming, to location and time and everything in between.
- Casting: Every step in this process is critical. Finding the right actors for your commercial is no different.
- Filming Schedule: Once the shoot is planned out, and the cast is set – it’s time to start scheduling. This is never as simple as it may sound. Unless your script is incredibly simple, there are going to be a lot of people and a lot of locations to coordinate.
- Equipment Assessment: Once we know what and where we are filming, our production crew goes over our shot list to determine what equipment (cameras, lenses, lighting, audio, etc.) we will need for each scene. It’s important to always have an equipment list prior to heading out on a shoot.
- Filming: If we have taken the time to do all of the above, our filming day(s) should theoretically run very smooth. In most cases, this is true, but with production, you always have to be willing to go with the flow. There are always going to be many takes and re-takes, and things will always happen that are out of your control (weather being a prime example). But if you have a good plan set in place, the easier it is handle the unforeseen.
- Editing: Once we have all of our footage shot and voiceover recorded, it’s time to head to the editing room and cut everything together with music, voiceover and graphics.
Utilizing Your TV Commercial in Your Digital Marketing Strategy
The theme developed in a client's TV commercial can easily be replicated, or better yet, expanded in a longer-form video distributed over the internet. Because of the "time is money" constraint, TV commercials are brief and direct. However, the stories of our clients cannot be fully told in 30 second increments. Image films, testimonials and long form stories work in conjunction with a TV commercial to fully distribute your message to your customers.
These videos can be used in conjunction with your digital marketing strategy that should include social media management and promotion.