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What Is Involved in TV Advertising Production?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 16, 2024
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TV advertising production is a multi-step process that melds the worlds of marketing and film production. In order to make a successful commercial, an advertising company needs to be able to create an entertaining and informative product that meets a client's goals. Some of the most common steps along the way include consultation meetings, script writing, production, and release.

The idea for a TV commercial is often born when a client meets with an advertising agency. Together, the client and advertisers work to develop a concept that incorporates information about the brand or product with eye-catching visuals or a witty plot line. In these initial meetings, clients may discuss the demographic they are attempting to reach, as well as the size of the anticipated ad release. Factors such as budget and production time line may also be discussed during these meetings.

Freshly prepared with a client's goals and hopes, advertisers then begin to write possible scripts for the planned advertisements. In some cases, several advertisers may work together as a team, but other projects may have a single advertising writer. Scripts used in TV advertising production need to be succinct, visually interesting, and written with the client's budget in mind. Scripts may go through several drafts before being presented to the client for approval; since the script is the skeleton of TV advertising production, getting it just right is very important.

Once the script is approved, the advertising agency, or sometimes the client, assembles a creative team for production. The creative team typically consists of producers, a director, a cinematographer, and an editor. These professionals break down the script, figuring out how it will be shot and determining logistics such as hiring technicians and actors and securing equipment and shooting locations. For more elaborate commercials, stunt people, visual effects artists, and a composer may also be necessary.

TV advertising production often occurs over a few days or weeks, in order to manage all of the necessary shots. If the commercial being produced is one of several for a product launch, the production team may film them consecutively. Once filming is completed, the editor cuts together a basic version of the commercial, which is then reviewed and often altered by the director, advertising agency, and at the client's request.

The final step in TV advertising production is the release of the commercial. Airtime must be purchased on each channel or network, which can dramatically drive up the total cost of production. If a company only intends their advertisement for local channels, this can be a quite reasonable way to reach a local audience. National commercials, which may run dozens of time per day on nearly every TV channel, are usually reserved for large corporations with vast advertising budgets.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for SmartCapitalMind. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Jul 10, 2014

Feryll - I disagree with you. I am so tired of seeing professional actors that I am more likely to watch a commercial with regular people who obviously have no acting experience. I think this is why reality TV is so popular now.

Everybody just wants to see normal people like themselves on TV instead of polished actors who are obviously just playing a role to make more money. I would definitely do my own commercials if I had anything to advertise. I think it would be fun.

By Sporkasia — On Jul 10, 2014

@Feryll - I know the kinds of commercials you are talking about and I agree that professional actors usually make a commercial easier to watch. However, you can save a good deal of money by appearing in your own TV advertisements. When you have a tight budget, doing your own commercial spots and not using actors is about the only way you can afford to get your message on TV.

By Feryll — On Jul 09, 2014

If I ever need to make a TV commercial to advertise a product then I hope I have enough money to hire professional actors. I can't tell you how many times friends and I have made fun of those cheap commercials where the people in them are obviously not professional actors and they sound like they are reading their lines.

If you don't have the money to do a TV ad so that it looks professional then I suggest you find a less expensive way to advertise. It will be better for your image in the long run.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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