Writing a Commercial

Commercials are more than just on TV.

They are on Youtube, Facebook, and any other online media.

They are a great way to get your company and your message out there.

Which is why you need to know the different types of commercials and and the best tips and tricks in writing them.

But before we go into the Top 12 Most used Commercial Types, you have to know the general layout of a commercial.

There are four basic commercial lengths - 10, 30, 60, and 120 seconds.

o Ten-second commercials are usually “ID” or identification spots.

§ ID spots drive home a product name and support the campaign’s other spots.

o 30 or 60 seconds long are for brand recognition

§ build preference for a brand-name product

§ 90 word maximum

o 120-second campaigns are for Mail-Order commercials

§ Need to deliver more complete information to convince people to respond.

§ 180 word maximum

Now let’s talk about…

The Top 12 Most Used Commercial Types

1. Demonstrations

Number One is Demonstrations. Demonstrations show how a product works. They help showcase what your product or service does and emphasizes its benefits and features. This is powerful if your product and service has noticeable results. Especially if you can document it with before and after photos.

It is also good for comparing two products to show how your product and service differs and is better than another. This can be powerful if you can prove that you have a better quality product or service.

2. Testimonials

Testimonials are endorsements by past customers to add credibility to your claims. It is much more believable for a product when it comes from a customer or a third party rather than the manufacturer.

They can be written or spoken, but need to be from real product users. A fun way to get the real reactions is to use hidden cameras customers during product use and answers to questions.

Another and much more expensive, you can get Paid Celebrity Endorsements, but they are hit or miss depending on whether consumers believe it’s true.

3. Stand-up Presenter

The stand-up presenter, also known as a “talking head” or “pitchman stands before the camera and delivers a straightforward sales pitch on the virtues of the product.

This is good for giving your best salesman their day in the limelight, utilizing your sales letters and best scripts.

It it will follow the normal line of any sales letter.

For more on that format check out… How to Write a Sales Letter?

4. Slice-of-Life

The slice-of-life commercial is a miniature play centering on two or more people and a story involving the product.

It relates to your targeted customer by knowing their daily lives and how your product and service fits into that daily life.

This is one of the most powerful techniques to get your clients into the habit of using your products by seeing how it can be used to make their lives easier, more convenient, or just better in general.

5. Lifestyle Advertising

This commercial is targeted to an extremely specific group. Most likely the niche of your company.

It showcases how your product and service enhances and fits into your client’s life. Going even as far as to show that they can’t live their established lifestyle without your products or services.

This is useful in catering to your current customers in introducing new products and trends.

6. Animation

The best thing about animation is its versatility. Anything you can’t get done in the real world is easily grasped in Animation which is why it is very useful in some circumstances such as selling to children and certain cultures, but can fail to sell to adults.

It should be used to tickle the creative side of your company and take your customers and clients to a world they have never been or seen before.

7. Jingles

One of the best ways to embed your brand into the minds of consumers is to have a memorable jingle. A slogan set to music that is catchy and people just can’t stop humming or singing.

The idea is to create short and simple rhymes to a catchy beat. This entails enlisting the help of both a writer and musician to create it. So you should start by gathering both to brainstorm what the theme, pitch, and objective will be.

8. Continuing Characters

A great commercial strategy is Continuing Characters, but only if you can get people to fancy them such as the Gecko, the Duck, and the Tiger.

The use of a continuing character—a fictional person who appears in a series of commercials and print ads—is extremely effective in building recognition of a brand.

But once you have the go ahead that the public likes your character, it’s time to use them continuously and heavily until research or sales show that your customers are tiring of him.

9. Reason-Why Copy

If you have a great sales letter then it might be time to look into a Reason-Why Commercial which reads like a sales letter telling people exactly why they need you and your product and service.

Give the list of reasons why people should buy the product and can be effective, but only to the right audience. Others will be bored or just not need what you do.

10. Emotion

Every charity commercial relies on this form of commercial.

It goes after nostalgia, charm, or sentimentality to tug at your heartstrings (and your wallet).

They are memorable and persuasive utilizing complex emotions to whip you up into a tizzy so you make decisions based on the burst of emotions you feel.

But be careful as genuine emotional copy is hard to write.

Now the last two can be used, but have significant risks because they don’t try to sell, but rather entertain and therefore can be heavily misconstrued.

11. Visual as Hero

Some advertisers treat commercial making as film-making, not as selling. This usually doesn't impress anyone nor does sell it much.

So why would people do it?

Because they have too much money and want to create something for the brand that goes beyond what they sell. Unless it goes viral, it won’t do anything for the bottom line.

12. Humor

Humor is a powerful medium. However it is very polarizing as it becomes certain after the joke on who finds it funny and who doesn’t.

The First One may buy, but the second most likely not.

Which is why you may need to avoid the funny commercial.

Now that you know what commercials you can write, it’s time to understand the basic tips you need to keep in mind while you do.

Tips for Commercials

Video is primarily a medium of pictures, not words. Be sure your pictures deliver a selling message. That works without sound so when writing the words should explain what the pictures are showing.

And Remember That:

Viewers can only take in a limited amount of sight and sound in 30 or 60 seconds.

o You have remember to:

§ Maintain Ratio – Complex Graphics have few words/ Barrage of words has simple graphics

§ Make commercial interesting and important enough to stop your customer

§ Plan within existing budgetary limitations

§ Make sure the lead of your commercial is a real grabber

· first 4 seconds are most important

· Open with irresistible: snappy music, an arresting visual, a dramatic situation, or a real-life problem

When selling a product that can be purchased off the supermarket shelf

§ Show the label. Use close-ups to draw attention to the package

§ People will buy the product later if they remember the package

When using motion and sound

§ Avoid stagnant commercials. Keep it moving and buzzing

Use “supers.” - Titles, in white type, superimposed over the picture

o Example: NOT AVAILABLE IN STORES.” For Mail-Order

Repeat the product name and the main selling point at least twice.

Avoid hackneyed situations that bore viewers.

Don’t neglect the product.

§ Show people eating it, wearing it, riding it, using it, and enjoying it.

§ Demonstrate the product. Have people talk about how good the product is

Want viewers to call or write in to order a product or request more information

§ Announce this at the beginning of the commercial (“Get paper and pencil ready to take advantage of this special TV offer . . .”)

If you use a celebrity (either on camera or voice-over)

§ identify the celebrity with a voice-over introduction or superimposed title

Local retail commercials, give the address and clear directions to the store

§ Many locations, urge to find the location nearest to them

Author's Bio: 

Lucas Thomas has earned thousands of dollars with only one white sheet of paper. With only ink and paper he has become financially free.
He has been doing professional copy for the last four years. All while earning his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management. In business, this has included all direct marketing pieces from brochures to sales letters. In academics, scholarships to proposals. In non-profits, grants to fundraisers. He has worked with multiple entrepreneurs, small companies, and non-profits across the Valley.
Using direct marketing, he has both on and off line become successful. And now he is available for the first time to provide for your business. Using elegant copy, he will boost your business to the next level. By qualifying members and converting those leads to sales.