Making an Amazing TV Ad

The first and arguably most important part of making a good TV advert is to ensure you get the brief right. Be clear about what you want to achieve. What are the business goals for the campaign? Increased brand reach and recognition? An increase in site visits? Social interactions? More customers? Whatever it is, be clear on it and if it’s more than one, create a hierarchy, so you know their relative importance. Then set out clear and measurable objectives, so an agency is in no doubt about what their task is and what the result needs to be.

Making sacrifices

We wanted to stand out from the crowd, differentiate ourselves from our competitors. To do this, we knew we had to act differently to the current market. We decided to deliberately sacrifice audience to focus on targeting and be audacious in our approach.

Billions of pounds are spent on TV marketing in the UK every year, but an awful lot of this is wasted: it’s believed that only 4% of advertising is remembered favourably and as much as 89% of advertising is not remembered at all. So you need to think hard about how you ensure you get your advert into that 4% bracket.

Here’s the advert that we’ve just launched for our free live credit score and report service.

Do your agency research

Research is incredibly important. You must find an agency that can meet and hopefully exceed your expectations and visions for the campaign. Do they have experience of creating ads you like and admire and that achieve similar goals to yours? Can they deliver the project on budget and on time? Key questions to answer.

It was important to me that our agency understood the product and the aims of the campaign as well as the audience we were targeting. They needed to believe in the concept and be on board with the campaign objectives from beginning to end. We went through a lengthy process; we started by contacting about 20 agencies, which we narrowed down to six and invited three to pitch before selecting one to work with.

If applicable, make sure that you have oversight of, and can choose, the director for your ad. Does their vision fit with yours? Also, does their treatment of the creative fit the concept developed by the agency and what you are trying to achieve.

Project management

Manage the project meticulously from start to finish. Stay on top of your timelines, know when milestones should be met and what to expect from the agency. Keep all key stakeholders in the loop about progress and flag any bumps in the road as soon as they materialise.

Consider every detail

If it’s live action, think carefully about your casting; do the actors represent what you want them to? Are they a good fit for the ultimate objective of the project? Consider every part of the ad and make sure they all relate back to your overall aims for the campaign and fit with your chosen strategy. Stick to your guns.

Build in contingency

Always allow time for review and sign off, and build in contingency as this will invariably take longer than expected. Don’t forget that the ad will need to go through Clearcast as well as your sign-off processes.

Validate the chosen route

Hold some focus groups, ideally with your target audience. Are you hitting the right notes, are you on track to achieve your objectives? How do people react to the concepts shown to them, is it as expected? Take on board the feedback and apply this where necessary, but be careful not to lose sight of your strategy.

If you have chosen a particular route to target a specific audience, not everyone will like it. This is OK, you can’t be all things to all people and if you are you’ll end up making an advert so vanilla that it won’t stand out.

Don’t forget your media buying strategy

While making the ad, you should always be mindful of where and when you want it to appear. The creative should work much better if you are thinking about the ad placement and surroundings as you develop the concept. Are there links/tie ins to subject matter in certain programming or channels with your ad and can these be incorporated or highlighted?

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