Digital Video Cameraman

Creating a Great Video Ad

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The thought often comes across my mind, “what makes a good TV ad”?  Obviously, it is a combination of things, but what are those “things”?  I am not sure a lot of people could nail down the right ingredients.  With this in mind I set about searching the sea of data out there to find what the consensus is.  Figuring this out is obviously critical if you are going to invest the significant money it costs to produce a good ad.

What is That Catchy Idea?

If you are going to invest the money, you need to figure out what will get people to take a look at what you are saying about your product or service.  There are many examples of entrepreneurs who made outrageous ad campaigns that worked, because they had a unique approach to their messaging, which got them attention and paid dividends in sales.  Take the time required to execute this part of the campaign.  You will thank yourself later.

Write a Script People Will Respond To

So you have the monster idea.  Now you need to convert it into an execution-able 30-60 second ad.  The only way to do this is write it down.  Read it over and over.  Make every word count.  Keep your sentences short and the term I saw was “punchy”.  Remember two things, some people are more verbal and some people won’t even be in the room when your ad airs…but they might hear it.

People Can Make a Commercial 

Of course, not every ad needs a person, but sometimes the best ads do have a spokesperson.  Honestly, I am a fan of using a professional.  Sure, your ad might be memorable because of the folksy way it is presented by a non-professional, but is that really what you want?  Don’t you want people to focus on your product and service?

Use a Professional Production Company

Once again, this is a place people will cut corners as even the average smart phone or consumer camera is better than many pro-level cameras 40 years ago.  Remember, it isn’t the equipment…it is who is behind the equipment.  There are so many nuances to creating a visually pleasing ad.  Composition is something most amateurs don’t do very well. I believe in the old saying, if you are going to do something, you ought to do it right.

Plan Your Execution

The professionals always make things look easy.  Know why? It is because they have practiced and planned for success.  I have spent time on several shoots and it always amazes me how much time is invested to get a :15 clip. Hours!  The end result is you get something that looks great and conveys the message that will help sell your business.

Audio and Video Shall Never Cross

Ok, so you have your clips, you recorded your script, now those two pieces go to the editing room.  Another good reason to hire the professional (and I mean the guy/gal who does this EVERY DAY, ALL DAY).  These two pieces HAVE to match and they have to sound good.  No tin cups with a string tied between.  Most pro-sumer equipment either does one thing or the other well…but not both.

Watch the Clock

You are paying for a :30 ad…you aren’t getting a second longer.  Make sure your message is concise and cleanly made in your allotted time.   Nothing looks worse than the closing part of your ad is either cut off or rushed so much no one can understand it.  (Please refer back to proper script writing.)

Where is the Hook?

I am probably aging myself, but remember the ad “where’s the beef”?  Every ad needs it.  Some sort of call to action. Ask yourself “what do I want the person seeing this to do”?  It might only be to remember me the next time they are in the market to buy your product or service.  You are paying for this ad…make sure you are squeezing everything you can out of it.


In football they call the guy who kicks field goals the “placekicker”.  His job is to make sure that the ball goes between the goal posts.  If he is one inch outside that he gets NOTHING.  Advertising is like that.  There is a space between those goal posts so you don’t have to be perfect, but you want to score with every ad.  That is another area the professional agency can help.  They are paid to know how the programming flows and where the best placement is. They also typically have leverage with the media outlet to get that done.

Over and Over

So you have created the perfect ad.  You have bought some media time.  How many times will the ad air?  It needs to be frequent.  In today’s world, people are bombarded with messaging all day.  Even the greatest ad in the world needs to be seen/heard three to five times for it to sink in with your potential customer.  Also, remember you need to support your TV messaging with that same message being played across every platform you use. Your website should reflect that message through banners or preferably a landing page.