A Dummy’s Guide to TV Advertising


Why so glum, pal? Sure, you’re new to TV advertising. There’s no shame in that. That’s why I’ve written this super-cool blog for dummies like you. (Sorry about the “dummy” thing.) Why not take a minute and get a little bit smarter about television advertising? Here are my six basic tips.

Don’t Fake It
The recent adage “fake it ‘til you make it” is all-around bad advice––doubly bad if you are making TV commercials for the first time. Assuming you have hired professionals (writers, creative directors, cameramen, ad execs and producers), don’t be afraid of looking stupid. You’ll only grow by asking questions. If you don’t understand something, just ask. People will be thrilled to educate you.

Quality Pays Off
Sure, your smartphone shoots crazy-good video these days, but that doesn’t make you a videographer. And, don’t forget, these HD televisions are as sharp as knives. Every bump and wobble is magnified a hundred times. So make the investment to hire professionals. If this stuff was easy we’d all hire our relatives.

There are plenty of ways to get big quality on a low budget. TV shoots take an enormous amount of time setting lights, perfecting sound and covering up the actress’ latest zit. Start by scaling down the size of your shoot. Keep in mind, the fewer locations and set ups, the better. The fewer actors, the better. There are these things called residuals that you have to pay to union talent. The simpler you design your commercial, the better the quality will be.

Time Your Script Carefully
As a rule of thumb, copy for a 30-second commercial should time out at no longer than 25 seconds. Professional actors and announcers enunciate their words. This takes up time. Also, build in dead beats in the script for body language.

Show It as You Say It
Editing TV spots is a science. If the announcer is talking about your ginormous showroom, don’t show the front of the building. When the actor holds up the product, punch in to a close-up. Don’t have art cards flashing up words that don’t match what the voiceover is saying.

Have a Clear Call to Action
This, of course, is kind of basic, but you’d be surprised how many newbies miss this one. Are you wanting customers to head into your store? Are you wanting them to go to the website? Are you wanting them to call your awesome call center? Pick one and include it prominently at the close of your commercial.

Clever Counts
People pay closer attention to TV commercials that have humor or involve our emotions. Why run commercials that aren’t memorable? It makes no sense.


So there you are––six tips that made you smarter than you were two minutes ago. If you would like to understand more about creating TV advertising that is guaranteed to improve your ROI, give us a shout. We’re Agency Creative and our phone number is 972.488.1660.

Artie Megibben is executive creative director for Agency Creative. His full-time passion is giving brands their unique memorable voice. He and his co-conspirators would love to help your company stand out from the crowd. See more of his creative work.

We are a Dallas advertising agency with expertise in television.