With thousands of networks, channels, and broadcasting platforms to reach audiences, more TV commercials are competing for our attention than ever before. Whether a big-budget national primetime production or a small local cable spot, the challenge is to make yours rise above the rest and grab an overloaded prospect’s attention. Here are some tips for hitting home before he or she hits the remote.
- TV is a visual medium so images on screen should deliver a selling message. If viewers can’t figure out what’s being sold when the sound is turned down, the commercial is missing the mark.
- Cut to the chase. You usually only have 30 seconds in which to make your pitch. Strive to be simple, direct and to the point. You can’t afford to burn valuable time with roundabout lead-ins or preambles.
- Video is a motion medium, so show cars driving, boats sailing, runners running, coffee pouring, and flags waving. Avoid the idle. Embrace the active.
- Don’t launch an assault on the senses. Viewers can only process so much sight and sound at once. So if you have a fast-talking, word-heavy voiceover, keep the video simple. If you use dynamic visuals, keep words to a minimum.
- Repeat the product name and key selling message at least twice. Repetition helps the viewer remember and engages those who may not have been paying attention when your commercial first came on.
- Use “supers,” which is short for superimposing titles over the picture. The super reinforces a key sales point or makes an additional one not mentioned in the voiceover.
- In local retail spots, give the address and clear directions to the store. If you have multiple locations, urge viewers to visit your web site to find the one nearest them.
Follow these golden rules for producing effective commercials. You may not win an award for creative brilliance, but you will be well positioned to cut through the clutter, convey a relevant message, and entice viewers to try your product or service “as seen on TV.”