Production Tips to Make an Exceptional TV Commercial

Aubrey Brouk

Aubrey Brouk About The Author

September 23, 2021 at 11:33 AM

Production Tips to Make an Exceptional TV Commercial

Few things can compare with the results and credibility your brand can earn with a quality TV commercial. 

Even with the increased use of Connected TV and streaming services, TV has a 90% reach among all adults who are 18 and older, where 81% of Millennials watched TV at least once a week, compared to 92% of their slightly older peers and 94% of adults aged 65 or over. Meanwhile, 70% of Gen Zers still choose to watch traditional TV, with 88% doing something else simultaneously — opening up the marketing opportunities for a mix of TV and digital

Advertising with TV commercials presents an opportunity for small businesses to get in front of these groups in a way that’s compatible with their budgets. With these tips for successful TV commercials, your brand will be well on its way to reaching a significant portion of your target audience. 

Learn more about creating a successful commercial

Choose Your Subject and Call-To-Action  

Choose a call to action for your commercialYour first step is to decide what you want to accomplish with your commercial, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving foot traffic, or informing potential customers about a sale. It’s important to focus on one thing per commercial or you risk consumers misunderstanding your message and tuning you out.  

The key is choosing one subject and sticking to it. If you have more than one goal you’d like to accomplish with your TV campaign, it’s okay to make more than one commercial. Airing more than one commercial at a time has precedence of providing clarity for the viewer and prevents people from getting bored of your ads. 

Another thing to consider when it comes to creating your ad is making sure your call-to-action (CTA) messaging is aligned with the goal you want to achieve. For example, if you're creating your eye-catching commercial to inform your audience about a limited-time sale or deal, your CTA should be urgent. Use time-sensitive phrasing to instill immediacy, such as “Take advantage now before it's too late!” or, “Don't miss out on this limited-time-only deal!” 

Write Out a Script  

Writing out your TV commercial script is a crucial step to organizing your message and confirming your goals. It also ensures that everyone involved is on the same page regarding: 

  • What to expect 
  • The goal that is meant to be achieved 
  • The expectations you have for everyone involved   

Commercial writing comes with some unique guidelines. The most notable rule is that you only get 15 to 60 seconds to get your point across, so you need to make the most of that time. The script must convey information that will prompt action. It must also be delivered in a way that’s easy to understand. 

Pacing is key. If you try to put too much information in a short amount of time, the message can sound rushed and be difficult to follow.    

Choose Your Actors  

Casting for a commercial

Your commercial’s cast creates the face of your business. So, not only is it crucial that they embody what your company and brand stand for, but you will also need to decide if you want your commercial to showcase the owner, your employees, neighbors, or someone you hire specifically to be the face of the brand.  

There is some flexibility in terms of how you think of your commercial’s actors. Decide on who will deliver your message with your specific goals in mind and choose your actors based on who will resonate best with your intended audience. 

Fortunately, all the technology available today offers you the flexibility and creativity to use things you never thought imaginable. Instead of actors, you could use an animated animal or mascot using voice-over, include loyal consumer testimonials recorded through FaceTime, or show aerial views of your business’s location using drone footage. You have a variety of options to consider, giving you freedom to find the best style to match your brand. 

Plan Out Your Shot List  

A shot list or storyboard is a series of uninterrupted frames, typically created by your commercial director to accompany your script. Since you sketch out each frame with the script alongside it — noting locations, graphics, and B-roll — this shot list allows you to map out everything that is happening in your commercial.  

A well-planned shot list also ensures that everyone involved in shooting your commercial understands the intended vision. It makes your commercial production process much easier and cuts down on costs by leaving no room for mistakes and misinterpretations.   

Shoot the TV Commercial 

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 3.46.08 PMWhen it comes time to shoot the commercial, you can either choose to do the job yourself and with your employees, or hire a professional production team. Either way, before making your decision you should always prepare the following:  

  • All the equipment required, such as cameras, lights, or props 
  • The size of the production, including camera team and actors 
  • The time you will need to get the job done smoothly, making sure to add extra time in case of delays 

These components determine the best approach for your company to take during production. In most cases, it’s better for companies to work with an outside team because they already have the expertise and equipment needed to complete the job.  

Often, using a professional production team is more cost-effective, saving you time and money as well as ensuring better results. However, even if you make this an in-house production, detailed planning makes the process easier.   

Finalize With Post-Production  

Screen Shot 2021-06-24 at 5.57.34 PMPost-production refers to the process of filmmaking that comes after you finish recording, such as editing, making cuts, adding sound effects and music, and working on graphics. This portion of your production process is just as important (if not more) than shooting the commercial itself. 

Keep in mind that quality post-production makes your commercial look and sound professional. This is particularly important since it will influence how your brand is perceived among millions of consumers, particularly your target audience. Believe it or not, how you present your organization in your commercial can heavily influence your brand perception. 

Expert Insight and Resources 

TV advertising plays a significant role in influencing consumer purchasing decisions. In one example, when chewing gum ads started advertising people chewing two pieces of gum at once, sales doubled instantly because people started to chew two pieces at a time like they'd seen on TV. You'll want to make sure your commercial has the same influence in your industry.  

To do this more efficiently, work with a media partner who has the professional expertise to advise you during the process and help with commercial production. After all, these experts have been doing exactly what you need for decades and already know all the ins and outs of making successful TV commercials. 

New call-to-action