How To Make A TV Commercial For Your Business
October 9, 2015
I recently did a commercial for one of my clients and it turned out to be one of my favorite commercials to date.
During our first production meeting to discuss what type of TV commercial the client wanted to make, they showed me a graphic that one of their graphic designers made of a billboard.
They wanted the video to go into a 3D billboard and create a virtual world.
I took notes and discussed the idea with my team, and within a few weeks of 3D animation and aftereffects work, we ended up with a great result.
I wasn’t sure if they were even going to like it. I have a hard time being satisfied with my own work sometimes but luckily the client loved it.
They were so excited about how the commercial turned out that they wanted several different versions to run on TV.
I did another commercial for a local Dentist a few years ago and I asked him to describe his Ideal customer and he told me it was people who were afraid of the dentist.
So that’s what we went with.
We made a commercial that spoke directly to people who were terrified of going to the dentist.
First, we interviewed two people who were current clients of the practice who used to be afraid of going to the dentist.
During the interview, we asked them to explain why they were no longer afraid of going to the dentist.
Their responses were so good that we turned these interviews into two 30-second commercials.
After these commercials aired on TV people, the dentist started receiving several new calls a day from people who were also afraid of going to the dentist.
The concept worked!
Why TV Commercials Are Valuable To Your Business
Many of my clients continue to want to make TV commercials.
This does not surprise me because according to Statista, TV advertising revenue, TV advertising revenue in the U.S. surpassed 71.1 billion dollars last year.
Small and large businesses know that TV commercials are still the best way to get the word out about a new product or service to a national or local audience.
My clients request TV commercials because so many people still watch TV and in a local area like Pittsburgh, it can be quick and easy to put out a simple yet effective TV commercial to let people know you are in business!
For example I had a customer who owns a large online services company that helps small and large companies get the word out about their business.
Their company advertises to other companies so putting out 6 short 15-second commercials was very impactful for them. They got the word out very quickly and now everyone knows who they are on a local level.
Four Questions To Ask Before Making A TV Commercial For Your Business
When I first started working in video production, I never really thought about which questions to ask my clients before creating a commercial.
I always assumed that if they wanted a commercial for their business then they would know what they wanted and needed.
I was wrong.
If a business has never been through this process of creating a TV commercial, there are four key questions they should answer first. These questions are…
1. What type of commercial do I want?
You’d be surprised by how many businesses don’t know what type of commercial they want.
They know they want a commercial and they know why they want it, but they don’t know what they want.
One thing I tell my clients is to go online to YouTube and search for a series of commercials that they think are impactful and that they personally like.
This gives us a starting point.
Now, when we have our first production meeting, we can review the videos they like and mock up some ideas.
Once the client knows what they want, we can work with the client on the specific details of the commercial and how to execute it.
2. Who is your ideal customer?
Identifying your customer is important when making a TV commercial because they are the people you are trying to reach.
You want your ideal customers (not random people) to stop what they are doing and look up at the TV.
This is why we carefully selected patients who used to be scared of going to the dentist for the previously mentioned dentistry practice; they were a match with the practice’s ideal customer.
If you can identify with the clients you want to appeal to, then you can easily tailor a commercial to them.
3. What impact can I expect the TV commercial to have on my business?
To a business, impact is the most important part of making a commercial because that is why the client if paying for it in the first place.
The business is expecting a return on their investment.
The more people who see your commercial and are impacted by it, the more clients you will have.
The problem is that most businesses do not measure their impact. It’s impossible to know the impact of your commercial without measuring it.
People who call in or come into the business referencing the commercial is the easiest way to measure the impact the commercial had by those people converting into sales.
You must keep track of this if you want to know the impact of a commercial.
Some advanced techniques for measuring impact include measuring website traffic during the commercial’s air time (if the commercial shows your URL) or adding a discount or referral code to the commercial and recording when the code is used.
4. How much does a TV Commercial cost?
The biggest question every business asks is how much will the commercial cost?
The big joke in the production world when a client asks this question is to respond with is 1 million dollars!
The client always jumps and we laugh and then we ask a more serious question…
“How big of house do you want to have?”
Making a TV commercial or any video is like building a house because there are so many upgrades and add-ons that will improve the quality but will also cost more money.
The most important thing to consider when determining how much money you want to spend is the quality.
I can show up at your office with a small HD camera, 1 light and a wireless microphone and make a commercial for you by myself with no crew members but the quality will not be the same as if I show up with a full crew, full lighting, and multiple Red Dragon cameras.
The best strategy is to balance quality to the cost on an individual basis.
For example, if one company offers a 1Tone grip package with a Red camera package, 3 crew members to monitor lighting, camera and audio for 15K and another company offers a DSLR camera package with a few decent lights and two guys to manage the production for 11K—most companies will go with the cheaper option.
However, spending that extra 4K for the bigger package would result in a commercial that’s 2-3 times the quality of the smaller package.
Don’t give up 2-3 times the quality for a small decrease in price. It’s not worth it.
In conclusion, if you want to make a TV commercial for your business it is important to know these 4 questions before you get started.
Knowing what type of commercial you want from the beginning will save you time and effort and will help make your commercial much better in the end. Knowing who your customer is will help you tailor the commercial to them, making the impact that much better. Knowing what to expect from your commercial is important because you need to be able to convert people to sales. Finally, knowing what to spend to get the quality you need is important and this money needs to be compared to the quality you are getting.