What Does the TV Commercial Production Process Look Like?

What Does the TV Commercial Production Process Look Like?

Despite the fact that consumers spend greater amounts of time surfing the Internet and using mobile devices than ever before, TV marketing still provides an impressive return on investment for businesses. Along with the ever-rising popularity of video in marketing, creating a commercial provides a beneficial investment for your business.

In fact, TV advertising displays greater success with KPIs than any media source.  According to a study conducted by MarketShare, “TV has the highest efficiency at achieving key performance indicators like sales and new accounts.” The study also took budgetary differences into consideration and found, when analyzed at similar spending levels, “TV averaged four times the sales lift of digital.”

If you are interested in creating a commercial for your company, ask yourself a few questions before you get started:

  • What do you hope to accomplish with your advertising?

    • You first want to determine what your business goals are. These goals will be different for everyone.

    • Maybe you want to…

      • Increase sales

      • Open a new location

      • Drive traffic to your store

      • Create brand awareness

      • Stay relevant in consumers’ minds

      • Increase your social media presence

  • What makes your business stand out from the rest of your competition?

    • Try to identify that one BIG thing that will make your company stand out in the crowded market of your business.

    • A lot of companies who are new to commercial production want to include everything about their company and doing so actually make their commercials “fit in” with their competition instead of “stand out.” Some examples include…

      • Family owned & operated

      • Lowest prices in town

      • Excellent customer service

After these questions have been answered, the creative process can begin. Your television commercial is an important investment in your brand’s future. Remember you get only one chance to make a first impression. 

Initial Meeting

At your first sit down with your commercial’s producer, they will ask you questions to better understand your business and develop a commercial based on your goals. As you continue down the path of creating a commercial for your business, you will undoubtedly have questions about the process such as…

  • How much does the commercial cost?

  • How long will the process take?

  • Where and when will the commercial air?

Creative Process and Script Presentation

After the initial meeting, your producer will host a creative session with their team to come up with a script and storyboard for your commercial from the information about your business they received from the initial meeting.

A script presentation will be scheduled to go over the concept of the commercial and budget.  More likely than not, a shot list will be created to outline how the video shoot will go. The script is like a blueprint for a new home, you wouldn’t start building without an approved plan. That is why it is important to sign off on the direction and script of your commercial before moving forward with production.

Farmore Pro Tip: Working with Media Outlets

As a tip, use a marketing agency to work with a media outlet throughout the commercial process.  Your agency will work directly with media outlets to negotiate your deal, ask all the right questions, and carefully select the right avenue for the commercial to air. The idea of them working as a “middleman” between you and the media outlet is for convenience. When you buy direct, you open yourself up to a slew of incoming calls from other stations soliciting your business. Instead, allow them to field incoming calls, negotiate, and schedule deals so that you can focus on running your business.

Here are some reasons why you should hire an agency with media buying experience:

  • Smarter media outlet selection: a good media buyer conducts research that aligns the type of product or service you offer with the right buyers – and with the right media outlet.

  • Negotiating power: media buying agencies know how to ask the right questions and get the deals that can save you money on your total bill. Media outlets recognize the agency’s experience and are more likely to be flexible with pricing or clue them in on deals.

  • Understanding the lingo: points, dayparts, PVT/PUT, O&O station, break position: With such specialized terminology in the media buying world, it’s beneficial to leave it to an agent who will cut through it all to get you the best deal possible.

  • Not all times of day are created equal: if you go direct, your advertisement will likely be relegated to less attractive times of day to run your message. Why? There are 24 hours in a day, and stations need ad inventory for every hour. Meanwhile, a savvy media buying agent will aggressively fight to get your ads placed in the most advantageous dayparts.

  • Target audiences: Your agency will have a better idea of the exact audience that you want your commercials to target. They will be able to negotiate with the media outlet to make sure your commercial is shown in the markets that your target audience will most likely be watching.

The Pre-Production Stage

Your producer will gather all the assets together for the commercial shoot. This step of the process includes (but not limited to)…

  • Selecting talent

  • Hiring a makeup artist

  • Gathering necessary props

  • Booking a location to shoot

Production/Shoot Day Stage

This is when the storyboard and script come to life. This could be completed in as little as a few hours, or last a few days. A shoot schedule is provided and outlines the day and what to expect.  Yes, most people think its about the filming, but there is a lot that has to happen in order to film.  The set is built (if there is a set), the lighting is set, and the audio professional(s) set up their equipment.  Talent is brought through make up and wardrobe, and the camera support and equipment is set up.  After that process is complete, filming begins.  Filming can take a while because….

  • All the "stars" must align in order to begin the process.

  • Cameramen are looking for the closest take to alleviate the post-production crew from having major work to do in the editing process.

  • A lot of times, you’ve only got one shot to get things right.

Final Product

After the commercial has been shot, it is time for the producer to cut the footage, select music, hire a voice over artist if needed, and finalize any other necessary details. Your commercial will be edited to reflect the storyboard that was created earlier. Once a cut of the commercial has been together, it will be sent to you for comments or changes you may have.

Once the final cut is approved, it will be sent off to the media outlet to air on the schedule that has been previously negotiated. Don’t be afraid to share your commercial everywhere your company is present! A couple places you should share your commercial are:

  • Company Website

  • Social Media Channels

  • Company Newsletter

  • YouTube

  • Company Blog

The experience of developing a commercial to advertise your company is an exciting one! If you want to get your business out in the eyes of the public, advertising on television is still one of the highest ROI decisions you can make. Farmore Marketing has years of experience producing television commercials that can accomplish your advertising goals. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to contact us today!



Tyler received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut and has a wide breathe of expertise to help provide internet marketing services for our clients.  Tyler’s expertise lies in the areas of social media strategy and management, content creation, website management and more.  Tyler is an avid golfer, loves anything to do with the UConn Huskies and enjoys traveling.

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