iQ media - IQ Blog - Tips for creating TV Commercials (26 September 11)

Tips for creating TV Commercials

26 September 2011

Tips for creating TV Commercials Image

Tips for creating TV Commercials

Historically, TV advertising was seen as the most expensive advertising medium but one which could generated significant brand awareness levels, regionally or nationally.  However, since the advent of satellite channels, TV advertising has become much more affordable.  The key is to make sure that your TV commercial works and delivers on your objectives, as otherwise TV can still be a very expensive platform.

The success of your TV advertising campaign depends on the targeting and quality of the TV commercial itself. 

Here are iQ Media’s tips on how to avoid the potential pitfalls and to produce a TV commercial for your Brand, products and services which delivers real, trackable results;

Identify your budget (a realistic budget!)

It is fundamental to your TV advertising campaign that you know the full and realistic budget available for your campaign.  Typically the production cost of your Commercial should only cost a quarter of your total budget.  Try to set a budget and adhere to it.  If you have a realistic budget available for your air (transmission) schedule, then you can plan and target specific audiences, via specific TV channels where the demographic of the viewer matches your target audience.

Work with a professional Production Company

By commissioning a professional Production Company, such as iQ Media, you can then work with the creatives and production team to develop a brief, in order to allow them to produce a recommendation and treatment for your review.  The process is a collaboration, so you should be involved throughout the pre production process, to ensure that all aspects and elements of the programme meet your objectives.

Before committing to anything, arrange for a contract to be drawn up that states the objectives of the commercial and a breakdown of the costs. This prevents any extra unexpected costs arising once the commercial is being produced.

What type of Response do you want?

There are typically two main types of TV commercials; direct response and brand led commercials.

Direct Response TV commercials (DRTV) encourage the viewer to take action immediately by phoning, texting or visiting a website address. 

Brand led commercials focus on maximising awareness of your brand, products and services, with the aim of making the viewers feel an affinity, a warm towards your brand through the images conveyed. In the UK, the bulk of TV advertisements are brand led, although direct response TV advertisements are particularly common within specific market sectors, i.e. insurance, financial etc.

The advantages of Direct Response TV commercials is that you can see immediately where an advertisement is working and the results generated via phone, email, SMS or online traffic.

Quality and Content

The quality of any TV advertising campaign is realistically going to be linked to the quality of your Commercial.

Branding commercials tend to be more expensive to produce, and if you’re promoting a product where quality is an important attribute it may be worth spending a little extra on the commercial to ensure that the correct image is portrayed.

The standard length of a commercial is 30 seconds but you can alter this, depending on your budget.  You have a very short period of time within which to capture and retain the viewers attention, so you need to stick to short, concise, “punchy” sentences.  Audible references are also useful, so commissioning a bespoke soundtrack or theme tune for your Commercial can assist recognition, when the viewer can no longer view your Commercial, but can hear the audio track!

A professional Production Company, such as iQ Media would work with you to produce a treatment which delivers key brand messages, within a commercial which is memorable and visually appealing.  The goal of TV advertising is to build a relationship, a rapport with the viewer\audience, so using people within Commercials or producing a bespoke character or unusual elements, will prompt recognition but also advocacy for your brand,

Call to Action!

For television advertising a call to action is not always essential. A Direct Response TV commercial should always have a strong call to action, via a variety of mechanisms i.e. phone, email, website, SMS etc and if applicable a free offer or promo code.

Trackable platforms provide key feedback on response rates.

For branding commercials a call to action is not essential, although mentioning a website address helps to promote awareness and advocacy.


When your TV commercial is in production, the next step is to decide on the frequency of the campaign within the budget available.

Television advertising isn’t the same as other advertising media with relation to repetition, but ideally you should aim to achieve an opportunity to be seen of at least twice, throughout the campaign by your target audience.

Identify the socio-demographics of your target audience or audiences and then work to identify the appropriate channels with the optimum level of your target audience.  Then identify appropriate TV shows, in order to build a list of slots within the TV schedules.

Adding your commercial to websites such as YouTube and Vimeo will extend its reach and can also produce valuable feedback.

You should also add your TV commercial to your website and across all social media, as appropriate for your brand, products and services.

Promote your TV activity internally to colleagues to promote internal awareness of your organisations investment in TV advertising.

Sit Back

Once your schedule starts to roll out, you can then review and access all responses via phone, email, SMS and online.  If specifically brand awareness activity, then there are ways to identify increased enquiry rates and website traffic searching for brand terminology; which can all assist in identifying a return on investment and quantifying the successfulness of the campaign, overall.

To learn more or to discuss a specific project in more depth, please email or call iQ Media on 0845 612 7147 for a no obligation discussion with one of our experience Producers, which will help you to evaluate how investing in a TV campaign can benefit your business..

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