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.