Keys to a Good Television Commercial

With the proliferation and expansion of so many choices to view television content, television commercials remain a staple of any successful marketing campaign. Only television can present the kind of powerful messaging tool to promote a company’s brand and the products and services they provide.

Television commercials have been used by businesses of all kinds and sizes to get the largest audience reach possible for decades. As the options for home television viewing has increased with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others capturing large segments of the viewing population, opportunities for commercial advertisement is as effective and competitive as ever.

The explosion of social media has created additional chances to expand brand awareness with sharing options that can send branding messages exponentially. The key is to make a commercial that is compelling and interesting enough that users will want to like it and share it with their friends, who will then share it, creating an exponential effect of audience reach through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media outlets.

Television Audiences Expanding, Diversifying

Television viewing statistics show that the medium is stronger than ever, presenting a widening landscape for commercials to reach larger sections of targeting audiences. Television viewing habits in recent years reveal the following:

  • Television ad revenue in the US is expected to increase to $72 billion by the year 2023
  • Americans stream over 8 billion hours of content a month on connected television outlets like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV
  • 55% of American households subscribe to at least one video streaming service
  • Television commands twice the active viewing of YouTube users and 15 times the active viewing of Facebook viewers
  • Television commercial completion rates are as high as 95%

Even before the coronavirus pandemic that had people staying at home for weeks at a time, addressable TV ad spending in the United States is expected to grow to $3.37 billion in 2020. However, the year 2020 has not turned out the way anyone could have expected and people are winding up watching television more than ever before.

Before the global crisis hit and well after it is over, people are watching a lot of television in a wide variety of ways. Television commercials are every bit as effective as they have been for decades at reaching the largest amounts of potential customers as possible. The competition for attention is fierce and if you can create a commercial that will create some buzz, it is still the best way to increase brand awareness and generate revenue.

Keys to Making a Good Television Commercial

The biggest challenge when setting out to make an effective commercial is to find the balance between presenting engaging, creative, entertaining content and properly delivering your message well enough to get people to act. There are no stringent rules governing how to make a commercial that is both effective and entertaining.

The following keys to making a good television commercial will help to increase the chances of success and ultimately more sales and revenue for your business.

Make the First 3 Second Matter

In today’s digital and mobile age, consumer attention spans are shorter than ever. Consumers are watching content on the go and from a device in the palm of their hands. A television commercial has about three seconds to capture the viewer’s attention enough to have them keep watching. Even if it is assumed the viewer may not watch after the first few seconds of the app commercial, that precious time can be used to build up some brand awareness in those first three seconds before they move on.


Whether it is McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” or Burger King’s “Have it your way,” jingles get into consumers’ minds and stay there. An ad campaign built around a memorable jingle will have staying power in the market. Jingles should not only be memorable and recognizable, but also connect viewers to the product, services, and branding of the business. The commercial will not be effective at generating interest and revenue if people remember the jingle, yet cannot link it to your business and the products you sell. When done correctly, a jingle can be used and adjusted for future campaigns and applications, further cementing the connect and branding elements.

Use of Celebrity or Other Influencer

A great way to capture peoples’ attention and garner interest is by using a widely recognized celebrity endorser or social influencer. A local celebrity, business leader, or sports figure can be used as an effective attention-getter to connect your business with the community. Associating a product or service with someone people know adds a sense of trust and acceptance to the business and the items being sold. Getting a respected professional or expert in the industry or product category to endorse the product or service will add instant credibility and build up trust in the brand.

Mascot or Other Characters

From Tony the Tiger to the Energizer bunny, mascots are successful tools at increasing brand recognition, awareness, and loyalty. These relatable, recognizable characters become instantly associated with your brand and can be used across channels to extend marketing campaigns to television, print ads, web, and social media outlets. Combining a song or catchphrase such as “they’re grrreat!” or “he keeps going and going…” will increase the awareness and connection to consumers. Establishing a likable character as the face and voice of the business can help with future marketing efforts and new product rollouts.

Call to Action (CTA)

Hooks like jingles, mascots, and celebrity influencers are used to draw viewers into the commercial, but the goal is to get consumers to act. Whether you want people to call a phone number, fill out a form, or click on a link, the reason the commercial is created in the first place is to get viewers to act, so it is important that these calls to action are clear and repeated often. The use of dynamic animated or whiteboard text helps to draw attention to the information and increase the chances of retention and action.

Use Humor

Humor is the great common denominator in marketing approaches. Especially in these troubled times, everyone loves a good laugh. Adding tasteful elements of humor make commercials more entertaining, more memorable, and more likely to get consumers to take action. Funny commercials are also much more likely to be shared on social media, which is an effective way to expand the reach of your message without additional production costs or effort.

Target Demographic Audience

Use television commercials to speak directly to your targeted demographics. Addressing the specific concerns or issues that your products or services provide solutions to will make it personal to prospective customers that need what you are selling. Avoid getting too deep into a niche target that may exclude possible future new customers. Social media ad campaigns allow for the targeting of specific groups and subgroups.

Keep Focused on Goal of Commercial

One of the biggest mistakes commercials make is trying to be everything to everyone with broad strokes that blurs the focus of the message and business goals. Keep focused on the main point or points and stick to the main goal of the marketing campaign. If too much information is crammed into one commercial, the audience will remember none of it. One video marketing campaign can look to achieve multiple goals, which can each be reached with different commercials that are independent of each other or follow a through-line or story.

Build Brand Awareness, Loyalty

The purpose of producing television commercials is to reach as wide an audience as possible in the shortest amount of time. It is crucial to use this valuable time to promote your brand. Commercials should engage the audience while keeping within the style, character, and missions of the business. Make sure the company name, logo, calls to action, and other information about your business are clearly presented within the context of the presentation.

Tell a Story

The only way to get viewers to stay with your commercial is to tell a story within it, with a clear and entertaining beginning, middle, and end that not only make sense within the context of the presentation but also incorporate the branding messages for the company’s products or services. The best and most memorable commercials tell a compelling story that is not directly related to the brand, yet shows its importance and relation to the story being told.

Television Commercials Remain Effective Marketing Tools

The influx of alternative methods for consumers to watch television creates a wealth of opportunities for marketers to air commercial advertisements. A good television commercial can create a buzz for your business and expand the reach of your brand to pockets of the available market never seen before.

The power of television commercials is as strong as it has ever been for ads that are engaging and tell a memorable story with an impactful message. Even as the industry has changed and the focus has shifted to alternative outlets and mobile applications, commercials can still reach more eyeballs than any other form of advertising endeavor. Contact our commercial video production team, and let’s talk about your video strategy!


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