Thanks to DVRs skipping over commercials is easy. Our lives are better for it. Most commercials are terrible, especially when it comes to the local ones. Sometimes they are so bad that they loop back around to being good again in spite of themselves.
As a creative, I have stayed away from the local commercial market. There’s rarely enough money available for production to make it interesting. I don’t want to come off sounding condescending … it’s just hard to make a local spot that is something to be proud of for the amount of money most are willing to pay.
The interesting question is why are local spots so bad? There are a few reasons. Most local companies aren’t used to creating ads. It’s expensive to pay for the creation and the playing of ads. Companies want to get as much as they can for their money. There’s only 30 seconds and they want get every aspect of their company mentioned. That leads to fast talking mashed together with fast/poorly shot imagery. There’s too much to remember and the viewer skips ahead.
… remind folks you exist.
Another reason local spots are usually bad is most business owners don’t know who to hire to make great ads. That’s our fault as creatives. Hey, we’re here … Did that help?
Business owners are busy running their business. That is hard work. Most business owners don’t know what’s possible. Again, that’s our fault as creatives. We need to do a better job of casting vision on what’s possible and how that will move audiences.
TV spots are short. People’s attention span for local spots are shorter. Knowing that, what’s possible? What can we hope for when creating the spot? The best thing to aim for in my opinion is to remind folks you exist. When audience members are shopping for what you offer, you want them to remember you exist and then hopefully seek you out.
This spot for ReMix Music here in Northwest Arkansas was a passion project for a store I love. I play guitar and I want everyone to know about this great little store. The owners were offered some 15-second spots on local TV. I want every musician to know there’s another option to purchase instruments and gear here in my region.
We want to accomplish three simple things with this spot. First, we want people to know ReMix exists. We want them to know this is a music store. And finally, we want them to consider purchasing locally rather than buying online.
ReMix doesn’t consider the other music stores in the area as competition. The real competition for local stores is online. There are some advantages to buying locally. The best advantages are you can try the instrument and take it home today … right now. The player will know it’s the right instrument and she can play it tonight!
It’s simple messaging and beautiful imagery. As musicians are fast-forwarding through the commercials … maybe they’ll skip back and see what this spot has to say.
Keep it simple. Identify 1-3 goals for the spot and don’t try to tell the whole story.