Anatomy of a Retail TV Commercial

Creativity in advertising should be anything but formulaic. A good idea, powerful visuals, a great voice over talent and a strong script will go a long way.

However, there’s something to be said for structure.  Notice I said “structure” and not “formula.”  The process demonstrated here shows how structuring the message can help viewers retain the message.

While this example shows the beginning, the middle, and the end of a retail TV commercial that communicates successfully, it’s important to note that variables can shift based on the complexity and amount of information.

1) Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

Start by telling your customers the “news.” If the commercial is about a special sale, tell them what it is. Better yet, find a hook people can remember.


VO: At Florida Leather Gallery, think FREE times THREE! …

2) Tell them.

Now add the details. Reference any specific product shots, prices or particular offers. In this segment, the price/offer statement should be featured.

VO: … For a limited time, get free delivery, 2 full years free financing, and we’ll even pay your sales tax!

(Onscreen, a viewer sees graphics that coincide with the voice over and further support the offer):

1. FREE / Free delivery

2. FREE / Two years free financing

3. FREE / We’ll pay your sales tax

3) Tell them what you told them.

You’re running out of time, so focus on restating the sale name /hook/offer so they the main message stays with them.

VO: What are you waiting for! Think FREE, times THREE!

MUSIC/SINGER: Florida Leather Gallery!

A good structure will keep your message from getting confusing or convoluted. It’ll also keep you disciplined in making sure your message works within the small window of a 30-second TV commercial (or 15 seconds, as with the example above.)



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