Ready to get a commercial produced for your company? Who will shoot the video? Write the copy? How will you get it on the air? How much will it cost? Should you go with a production company, ad agency or a TV station’s production house? Don’t get lost in the flurry of questions. Here are few tips you need to know before you buy a television commercial package.
Choosing a Company
If you have long-term advertising plans, an agency may be the right way to go. If you just want to get one commercial produced, side-stepping this option is probably the best and most economical decision. In most cases, agency reps will seek out a production company to shoot your commercial, edit it and handle the copy in-house. This solution is perfect if the agency’s handling all of your advertising needs.
Flip through the yellow pages and you’ll see all sorts of video production companies. These production houses can usually take care of your commercial needs on a per project basis. Some will simply shoot the video and edit the commercial without writing the copy. Be sure you know complete package details before you make your purchase.
TV Station’s Production House
Most television stations have their own in-house production company. They can write, shoot and edit your commercial all in one place and sometimes offer a package deal that includes airtime for your spot as well. Depending on the market you’re in and even the station itself, you’ll find most have access to state-of-the-art equipment within their facility.
This step is just like buying any other product. You want to be absolutely sure everything you need is covered in one price. Depending on the route you take, you’ll be offered a wide variety of packages and prices. For instance, some companies may offer to shoot a 30 second commercial with just “stills.” This is basically like having photos appear on television. No moving video will actually be used. This, of course, keeps the cost down, however is not very presentable as TV is more productive when we have a combination of both audio & visuals with a copy/script to match the image of your product or company. Therefore you should rather choose a complete package.
Is copy included with that price or will you have to find someone to write your commercial? Will information such as your address and telephone number be used within your commercial? Is airtime included? Does the package include shooting and editing? These are all questions you would want to make sure you have answered before you fork over your dough.
Writing the Commercial
Do you feel comfortable writing your own copy? Honestly, you shouldn’t. You wouldn’t trust the plumber to fix your computer so you should really consider letting a professional copywriter handle the copy. Television commercials, direct mail, brochures, etc. are all very different forms of advertising. Writing copy for television can be quite tricky and is best left to seasoned pros. If the company you’ve decided to go with has its own people to write commercials, make sure you get the final say in copy. You don’t want to be called in only to find your commercial has been written, shot and edited without your final approval. Remember, you’re the client and you must have your say.
You Own the Rights
Your commercial is yours. The company shooting your commercial may ask to use it as a reference for future clients. They may even ask if they can use your commercial for demo purposes just so potential clients can see what type of work they can produce. But you should own the rights to your commercial. A situation where their company asks for rights is very rare but it’s worth mentioning so you can protect yourself.
It’s fairly uncommon for a company to offer airtime with your completed commercial. But finding a station to carry your commercial isn’t so hard these days with current ad rates being pretty low. Consider demographics before making a purchasing decision. You may be able to save a few bucks at certain times of the day but you want to make sure your target audience is going to view your commercial. For example, if you’re advertising athletic shoes geared toward teens, you probably don’t want to hit the Wheel of Fortune crowd. Sure, there may be some grandparents who might want to buy your product for their grandkids but you can score bigger points with your spot in another time slot.
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