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Search Market Mentors

Every Second Counts: Creating a Captivating TV Commercial

video camera shooting a scene for a blog about creating a captivating TV commercial


Among the many types of advertising media at play these days, none holds quite the same emotional and persuasive power as the original small screen. (That’s your television, kids.) Think about the range of ads you see there; one can make can you cry while another makes you cringe. An effective one gets you thinking, versus one that barely registers at all. So, what does it take to create a captivating TV commercial, one that makes the right impact on the right people? Here, we share a few fundamentals for doing just that.

Determine the Ws

As with any marketing strategy or advertising creative, you’ll want to approach your project with the five classic anchors in place. For a TV commercial, here’s what each generally means:

  • Why… did you decide to create this commercial? Though traditionally the final “W,” this one is really the root of it all. Think about the problem, need or decision your viewer might have before them, and the distinctive solution(s) you have to offer.
  • Who… makes up your target audience? This could be as specific as women ages 35–54 within a certain tax bracket, or as broad as the general public. While you know your business best, our experts are always here to help define your demographic and refine your reach.
  • What… action(s) do you want the viewer to take? What is the goal of the commercial? An effective call to action (CTA) might be as simple as “visit us,” “call us” or “contact us.” For more creative concepts, a less direct and more inherent message can work as well.
  • When… can (and should) they take this action? Is this a seasonal promotion? A one-day event? Or is the viewer urged to hop on it “today” (so moved are they by your engaging message)? This answer will help guide your ad’s content as well as its placement.
  • Where… can they access your offerings? Though a brick-and-mortar location is sometimes the best or primary source, a company’s website is an increasingly great place to start. Always a place to “learn more,” your strategically designed website also allows customers to contact you, shop or schedule service online.

Get (Cautiously) Creative

And now for the “how.” We believe there’s a place for creativity in every commercial; it’s all in the way you apply it. A few basic tips can help you shape your vision:

  • Know thyself. Think about your overall brand. How do you want prospective customers to see you? Your company’s “personality” as well as the type of industry you’re in can help drive your commercial’s look and feel, from the general concept to graphic elements.
  • Keep it real. Think outside the box, but be sure to consider budget, logistics, talent and other factors; over-the-top concepts can backfire if not executed well. That being said, don’t dismiss a big idea out of hand—with our expertise and resources (including a state-of-the-art production studio on-site), we’ve been known to make magic!
  • Embrace “less is more.” Resist the urge to include everything you want viewers to know within your 15 or 30-second time slot; too much information limits creativity and can lead viewers to tune out. Let your website take the pressure off. As noted earlier, motivating someone to enter a URL might be your ad’s primary job.

Put It in Writing

There’s no commercial too simple to require a script—the singular document that outlines your commercial’s every word, sight and sound. Depending on your concept, this might include a voiceover to be read or actors’ lines for a scene, as well as everything that will appear on the screen, from images and graphics to copy.

Unless your commercial requires no new video footage, you’ll also want to develop a written production plan. Typically, this includes dates, times and locations for shooting, necessary talent and props, and specific shots to capture.

Go with Full-Service Savvy

From contemplation to the final cut, your best bet is to partner with experienced professionals. Our team includes experts in every aspect of broadcast advertising (among other kinds), ready to make your business shine and your audience smile. A lot goes into those precious few seconds, and we’ll make sure every one of them counts.

Contact us to get started today.