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How to create a great TV ad?

February 4, 2013 in Marketing, Media

Here are the guys to ask. From left: Elana de Swardt, (from Yellow ribbon media strategists), Giliian Rightford from Adtherapy, myself (sponsored by client Naspers), Cathy Ferrao and Adi Leach (joint CEOs of Studio Zoo, the guys who make all those wonderful DStv ads and Graham Pfuhl, retired marketing Director of M NET and DStv.  Graham put together a most informative workshop for Media24 / Naspers marketers on how to make a great tv ad. Read below the pic for the lessons I took away.

How to create a great TV ad

The lessons?

  1. Don’t even begin to think that you can bypass a media specialist on the where and how many.
  2. The how many is crucially important. If you can’t afford repeats, do something else than advertising – none more so than TV advertising.
  3. It all begins with an agency with whom you are comfortable with. This will be a give and take relationship and if you are not comfortable, there won’t be give and take.
  4. The brief cannot be delegated to a junior.
  5. The brief is a process. Leave room that writing the brief and presenting the brief may change your own perceptions of your company or product.
  6. We all have our favourite ads, but you can’t evaluate ads in isolation from the life-cycle  of the brand, the immediate goal you want to achieve and what’s appropriate in your industry – you can’t compare ads for exotic destinations, or Coke with ads for liquid detergents.
  7. Think process, think system – all the time.
  8. You haven’t got an idea of how laborious and intricate the process is of making a TV ad. Lots of people and functions got to dove tail. Get your mind sorted and structured at the beginning. Otherwise waste your own money.
  9. Studio Zoo demonstrated beautifully – go and have look at their ads for DStv again. The product and service remain the hero at all times. All creativity serves to support the product hero and never distracts.

Brings me by one lingering niggle:

Don’t we focus too much on creativity?  Why don’t agencies ever tell us about their influence and persuasion experts?  They all have Creative Directors, but why is the Persuasion Director missing?  Creativity is great at attracting attention, but persuasion and influence is now so close to a science as can come. Roberto Cialdini has been twice featured on the cover of Scientific American over the past 15 years.  And that is only one leg of the science.

Doesn’t the industry need to live on the intersection of creativity and science (borrowing from the late Steve Jobs)?

New job descriptions wanted?


1 response to How to create a great TV ad?

  1. Hi Bertie

    After the third viewing I find even the cleverest ads annoying. Unforunately we have to tolerate them when we watch the news but as for other programs the pvr and internet downloads work as a wonderful ad filter. The ads here make the regular programs virtually unwatchable.

    One of the highlights of the Superbowl are these clever ads and they were not at all impressive this year compared with last. An online poll I saw today on Yahoo Finance gave them a 75% “not impressed at all” rating.

    Once again our club here put on a superb Superbowl buffet with the game on screens around the room. When Beyonce came on most groaned – last year’s show with fewer wrinkles, remember it was Madoona last year. I’ve seen better aerobics classes at the Virgin Active . The power failure was a surprise although our power reliability has been no better than Eskom and our cable internet goes on and off occasionally so the US is not that perfect.

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