TV Production Breakthrough: The Canon 5D

January 25, 2012

Just a few years ago, only the big guys could afford to shoot their commercials on 35mm film, while smaller companies had to settle for the harsh, cheap look of video tape.

Not anymore!

The Canon 5D Mark II Digital Camera evens the playing field by delivering stunning, film-like images for 85% less. This Hi-Definition camera does it all from producing shallow depth of field to delivering rich, realistic scenes under low lighting conditions.  The camera is so amazing, so film-like, that the Director of Photography for the award winning TV show “House” shot the entire 7th season on it!

And with the Canon 5D, you can do a lot more with less. Gone are the days of 15 person crews… lugging lights and equipment from scene-to -scene.  A shot that took almost two hours to light for a film shoot, can now be lit to the same exact standards with a two-person crew in less than 45 minutes!

There’s little doubt that the Canon 5D has brought affordable, high-end TV production to the local advertiser.

Here’s hoping it won’t be wasted on the same low-end concepts?

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Think Differently!

October 27, 2011

That’s what Steve Jobs did. Even though he revolutionized the digital era, he did not think much of the internet as a branding medium. While everyone was jumping on the digital bandwagon, Jobs effectively remained “old school.”

In 2010, Apple spent an estimated $420 million on advertising. Over 90% of that budget was allocated to network television, newspapers, magazines and billboards. Less than 10% went toward digital initiatives.

And when Apple did spend online, it was usually an extension of a TV campaign like the iconic Mac vs. PC ads.

Jobs also believed in controlling the message which files in the face of the current wisdom that consumers should tell the brand story via Facebook and Twitter. Upon his death, Apple barely had a presence on either platform.

Throughout his brilliant career, Jobs created products for the masses. And he wisely chose mediums that targeted the masses. In advertising, as in product development, he relied heavily on his convictions and intuition. He did not rely on “likes” or “tweets.” He took a much more pragmatic approach: tell the story of how an amazing product can change a consumer’s life in the best environment possible. And then he was smart enough to understand that the best environment – then and now – is still traditional media.


Yes, Retail TV Commercials CAN Be Creative

September 9, 2009

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The problem with a lot of TV commercials is that the offer is buried. All joke, and little homage paid to the offer. But let’s examine the flip side. A TV commercial that simply beats the consumer over the head with an offer does a poor job of engaging a viewer’s interest.

Let’s be honest, nobody watches TV looking for ads, if you can’t engage the viewer’s interest, your message will fall on def ears.

Therein lies advertising’s oldest challenge. How do you capture your consumer’s interest AND get them to listen to your sales message? The world famous Young & Rubicam advertising agency put it beautifully when they described their definition of the word Impact: anything that enlivens a customer’s mind to receive a sales message.

Sounds extremely simple, but the process can be extremely difficult. Fortunately, your starting place is always the same. Find the connection between your offer and the consumer’s motivation to act on it. Then, and only then, can you start getting “creative.”

If it’s a price discount, maybe there’s an interesting way to make “price” the creative idea within the commercial. Here’s an example: a barbecue restaurant is selling all-you-can-eat chicken for $6 instead of $9. In the commercial, a sculpted sign is dropped down over a plate of mouth-watering chicken. As the voice over makes the big price drop announcement, a hand dramatically turns the $9 into a $6. Yes, the offer is front and center, but the idea combines the incentive with the “creative aha moment” viewers want.

CAPTION: Who said price and item advertising can’t be creative. Here, the price discount was big news – and thus the central idea within the commercial.

What’s your message? Convenience? Superior service? Value? Authenticity? Once you’ve boiled it down, think of what it means to your customer. And then find the most dramatic way of making your point – without straying off message. The result will be a commercial people remember, and an offer that consumers are motivated to act on.

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3 Basic Elements to an Effective Retail TV Commercial

August 14, 2009

TV Call To Action for Post #8TV advertising can be the most effective form of advertising you can use to grow your retail chain – or it can be colossal waste of money.  

You decide. 

Don’t depend on your ad agency to tell you.  A lot of them are too busy winning awards with your money to worry about what’s effective or not. 

 It’s up to you to know the difference between commercials that win acclaim and those that win customers.  

 To help out, here’s s are some basic (but essential) elements that every retail TV commercial should possess.

 1)      Call to Action:  Why advertise if you’re not providing consumers with tangible reasons to shop your store?  The key word here is tangible. Stay away from generic platitudes like “low prices” and “great selection.”  Or other obvious claims like the one I saw the other day for a fence company, where they proudly advertised: “We build dependable fences.” As if there was a market out there for undependable ones.   

 2)      A Brand Promise:  A lot of retailers (and some ad agencies) think that a strong call to action and a branding message don’t mix well in a 15 or 30-second TV commercial – you have to choose one or another.  On the contrary, it’s only when both the brand promise and the offer coexist, that you have the makings for an effective TV commercial.  Would you rather have a .99 cent hamburger from a no name burger joint or a .99 cent Big Mac from one of the most recognizable brand names in the world?  Without a brand promise, your price and item commercial will fall flat.

 3)      Consistency:  Al Ries, probably the nation’s foremost authority on retail marketing said it best:

“Brand building is boring work. What works best is absolute consistency over an extended period of time.”

Find something that works and stick with it. Just ask BMW who has stayed the course since 1975 with “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.  Or how about Maxwell House Coffee’s 94-year history with its “Good to the last drop” positioning?   Short and simple – consumers reward consistency.

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