16 Tips to Make TV Ads that Sell
We are back again with David Ogilvy, the original champion for advertising that sells and not merely entertains. Given below are his tips for effective TV commercials. These suggestions hold good even to this day, because times may have changed – what was fashionable in the seventies and eighties may not be fashionable now – but human nature has not. People still react to advertising more or less the same way and still buy things after watching an ad, when the ad meets certain criteria.
Here are the maestro’s tips.
#1 Brand Identification. Research shows that a great percentage of viewers remember the commercial but forget the product. Two tips for incorporating brand name smartly – repeat name at regular intervals, creatively and play games with the brand name.
#2 Show the package. All things being equal an ad which shows the product package has an edge over that which doesn’t.
#3 Food in motion. For commercial of food products, show the food in action. The more appetizing the imagery is, the more it will sell.
#4 Close-ups. When the hero of the commercial is your product, it is a wise idea to get close up shots.
#5 Open with the fire. Open your ad with a visual surprise. If you can grab their attention in the first few seconds you win, especially in our channel surfing TV culture.
#6 When you have nothing to say, sing it. When you have nothing worthwhile to say about your product it is a good idea to make a song and dance about it or take the emotional route. It works if done well, but is not a replacement for some compelling on air sales pitch. Also, keep the jingles simple and easy to remember.
#7 Sound effects. Smart sound effects (and not music) can make a positive difference to the selling power of your ad. Let them hear your product in action, and not just see it.
#8 Voice over or on camera. Research shows that actors talking on camera is more effective that voice over. People tend to ignore voice over, because they are too busy watching.
#9 Supers. If possible use super in your ads, i.e. set your promise in type and show in video and let the soundtrack speak out the words.
#10 Avoid visual banality. Show your audience something she has never seen before. If she has already seen it in real life she will be much less inclined to waste her time watching it on TV.
#11 Change of scene. Plethora of short scenes in an ad works below average as far as changing brand preference is concerned.
#12 Mnemonics. Use visual mnemonics in your commercials wherever possible. It enhances brand identification.
#13 Show the product in use. If you have a great product, never forget to show it in use and what the end result looks like.
#14 Everything is possible on TV. More true today than ever before. Technology has enabled the production of any kind of video with any concept. With video, you are limited only by your imagination.
#15 Miscomprehension. If you want people to understand your commercial and not misunderstand, you had better make it crystal clear. Being smart and creative is good, but not at the cost of clarity.
#16 The Great Scandal. Here is how Ogilvy describes the scandal,
“The extreme extravagance in producing commercials is largely the fault of the agencies.
“Copywriters specify that a commercial be shot in Bali when it could equally well be shot in studio for half the price, they insert expensive animation into live-action commercials. They insist that original music be composed for background purposes, as if there were nothing suitable in the whole repertoire of existing music, worst of all they use expensive celebrities when an unknown actor could sell more of the product.
“I have no research to prove it, but I suspect that there is a negative correlation between the money spend on producing commercial and their power to sell products. My partner Al Eicoff was asked by a client to remake a $15,000 commercial for $1,00,000. Sales went down.”