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Creating TV Commercials That Move The Needle

commercials that move the needle
One of my clients spends a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money creating TV commercials.

For weeks prior to the shoot, they are busy casting, assembling wardrobes, arranging locations, fine-tuning the scripts, and coordinating with the production crew.

It’s an impressive operation.

On the day of the shoot, there are usually about 20 to 25 people on the location—about 80% of those from the production crew, and the rest are various personnel from the company.

The production crew consists of a couple of camera guys, some lighting guys, sound guys, several assorted other guys who I’m not sure what they are doing… as well as the director, a makeup lady, a woman who sits in a chair and takes notes on what’s happening, and one person who’s sole responsibility is to be in charge of the food.

It’s like being on the set of a Hollywood blockbuster. Or at least what I imagine it would be like.

We usually shoot 5 spots over the course of 3 days… then it takes another 3 to 5 days to edit those into rough drafts, which then take another 2 to 3 days to fine-tune into final spots.

The final cost: about $20,000 per spot. A hundred grand for the 5-pack, not including my fees.

And I will tell you—the spots are fantastic.

I have another client who is on the extreme opposite end of that spectrum.

After I write the spots, we usually spend about 10 minutes on the phone fine tuning them.

He usually finds a home to shoot in (of a previous customer—he’s a kitchen and bath remodeler) a couple of days before the filming date.

He normally arrives at the shoot about 10 to 45 minutes late, which is okay, because the camera “crew” of one guy is usually still trying to get the lighting set up, or rearranging the appliances on the kitchen counter.

He’ll quickly change into a company polo shirt, and sometimes there is a makeup girl there—sometimes not. If so, she spends 4 minutes making sure his head isn’t too shiny.

Then we put the script for the ad on a teleprompter app on an iPad, and he busts through the script 3 or 4 times to make sure we have a good take.

We normally go to a second house to shoot in a bathroom. Sometimes it’s the same house. Either way, we can nail 4 or 5 spots in about 6 hours, including lunch and travel time between homes.

A couple of days later, the first drafts are edited, and I usually spend a couple of hours giving feedback and fine-tuning the spots.

Total cost: About $2,500 for 4 or 5 spots. Not per spot. Total.

The spots don’t look spectacular, but they are professional and well done. They communicate the selling advantages, and make this company the obvious choice to do business with.

The real question, of course, is how do the spots work?

The answer, in both cases, is amazingly well.

Because the reality is… as long as you’re not making cheese-butt-used-car-salesman commercials, it’s the content of the ad that is the most important thing.

Consider a few things:

In my last post, I made a case that massive repetition is the master key to advertising success.

And I also said that you can start small. Start by dominating one day per week on one radio or TV station. Then 2 days. Then 3 or 4. Then do the same thing with a second, then a third station. As your budget grows, keep adding stations.

What most people fail to realize is that because you will be talking to people on a regular, consistent basis… you DO NOT have to grab them by the throat, throw them on the ground, and force-feed them your message.

The goal is not necessarily to get the phone to ring RIGHT THIS SECOND.

Instead, you should be having a conversation with each person in your audience. Talk to them a little bit today. If they ignore you or don’t happen to be watching, that’s okay. You can continue the conversation tomorrow. And next week. And next month. And next year.

You should be thinking of your advertising today as nurturing sales for your company in 2017, 2018, 2019, and beyond.

The goal is to get everyone who will ever need (whatever you sell) to:

  1. Know that you exist,
  2. Understand your value proposition, and…
  3. Trust that you will deliver what you promise.

That’s it.

Most TV advertisers manage to do #1 above pretty good—repetition definitely leads to awareness.

Unfortunately, many advertisers fail (and hard) on #2 and #3—the value proposition usually isn’t very clear (or believable), which in turn, does not breed trust.

This leads to commercials that tend to simply annoy people over time. And annoyed people don’t usually become customers.

A big part of what I’ll be teaching in my upcoming “Make The Jump to $10MM” 2-day seminar is how to create killer TV commercials that will move the needle.

I’ll talk about the concept of Identity; how it is the foundation of your entire marketing program, and how your TV commercials should incorporate yours. We’ll talk about using powerful language and creating scripts that let your passion shine through.

And I’ll show you dozens of examples of TV and radio ads that my clients have spent literally MILLIONS of dollars to run.

Like anything else, there’s a right way to do it, and a wrong way to do it.

I’m looking forward to showing you the right way.

If you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to take a look at everything that will be covered in the course. If you’re truly ready to “make the jump,” you won’t want to miss out.

For more information about the upcoming seminar, click here.

 

P.S. In my next blog post I’m going to talk about a topic that makes or breaks companies trying to get to $10MM… it has to do with scrutinizing who you take advice from. Talk to you then!

make-the-jump

Click here to read more posts in my “Make The Jump” series:

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© 2017, Rich Harshaw. All rights reserved.

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