Are TV Commercials Still Effective?

TV ads. I have a love/hate relationship here. Sure, they can be hilarious as well as emotional, but they can also be interrupting and annoying at times. With that said, I feel I have a pretty unique perspective about this beast. You see, I grew up around advertising. No, I don’t mean growing up watching TV spots like “where’s the beef” or “time to make the donuts” – I mean I grew up in an ad agency. My parents ran a successful Advertising & Public Relations firm in Atlanta for almost 30 years. I can remember the excitement as a kid running around the crazy environment of their office. Print ads being pieced together. Storyboards being drawn. Ideas all over the walls. And of course, funny, quirky people that all gave me different nicknames. It was pretty cool thing to witness at a young age – especially since my folks were the bosses. 🙂

Nowadays, I also work in “the biz” – so to speak. I don’t own a typical or traditional ad agency, but since we write and produce TV spots (and other forms of video content), I figured I’d talk about commercials for a second.

Commercials are expensive. As you know, commercials not only take a ton of time and money to produce, they can take a huge amount of dollars to air on TV. So, with companies spending anywhere from $100k to over a million to advertise their product, my question is, “Is it working?” I mean, are TV spots still effective like they used to be in the world we live in today? My answer is…maybe.

With YouTube still holding the #2 spot for web searches, there’s no doubt that people are watching online videos more and more every day, which would make me believe that TV is almost out the door. But believe it or not according to MarketingCharts.com, the best way for advertisers to reach Baby Boomers is still TELEVISION. In fact TV ranks at 59% of total media platforms like; social, print, digital, etc. for the Boomers. I believe that my generation, Gen X, is probably still influenced by TV as well, as the average adult ages 35 and up watches an average of 33 hours of television a week.

Now, for sheer entertainment, maybe TV commercials are effective to the newer generations, but I think advertisers need to realize that if they’re going to make the most out of their television advertising bucks, they need to rethink the market that they are targeting and really consider the data out there. And from what I’ve seen, most commercials these days are not speaking to their most valuable demographic. Just saying.

If you’re a brand seeking to build awareness that creates action through video content, we’d love the opportunity to talk with you.

What’s Under the Hood?

I watched/listened to a video blog this morning that had such a great and simple analogy, I just had to write about it. The guy that does the vlog is in the same business as us and I enjoy listening to his subject matters and experiences because mine are so similar. Anyway, just to setup the scene, he did his vlog while he was working or I should say restoring a vintage car. He said that he had been restoring that old car for quite a while and has been so focused on things like the grill and the chrome around the headlights, but he hasn’t put much time or effort into the engine. That’s kinda funny right? I mean you can make the car look pretty and sparkle, but if it doesn’t run, what good is it?

Which leads me to my next point (his next point). In business, or as a business owner, we all want our stuff to look really, good right? I mean our brand, collateral pieces, website, videos, social media, etc. But what’s driving your business? Sure, your website may get you some business, but let’s be honest without SALES your dead in the water or in this case sitting in the garage. If we’re not putting forth most of our efforts into what’s under the hood and keep this thing moving, we’re out of business! So why do we do this? What makes us want to spend so much time on the stuff that doesn’t matter that much? Here’s a quick list of perhaps the reasons:

  1. It’s Fun(ner). It’s more fun to work on stuff for yourself than spending time trying to find business. With every hour you spend on yourself you can be reaching out to a handful of folks via email, LinkedIn, or…that’s right…phone call. Don’t let fear or laziness keep you from success!
  2. It’s Easier. It’s easier, when you think it’s fun. But hey, being in business ain’t easy! Again, don’t be lazy and don’t fall into this trap.
  3. You feel productive. Sure, you have to have a website. I know. And of course when you’re working on some that you have to have you feel productive and satisfied at the end of a days labor. But try this – Try just getting something up and out there and know that you can tweak it along the way. Or dedicate 10-20% of your day to your stuff and the other 80% to reaching out or meeting people.

Look, we’ve all been there. Even my dad would make fun of me because we changed our website at least 3 times in the first year in a half of being in business! He would say, “It’s just fun to work on your own stuff.” He was right! But I’m telling you, I’m telling you…you MUST have sales if you’re going to keep your business running and moving forward. So, take a moment today, look how pretty everything looks or could look, and then start working on your engine!

 

Back to School

Unfortunately, I’m not going to talk today about the 1980’s comedy classic with Rodney Dangerfield. I know, I know… you’re disappointed. (The Triple Lindy!) BUT can you believe that it’s that time of year again?! If you’re like me and have little ones, then you know this can be a happy/sad time. Happy to get them out of the house (haha) but sad because Summer is winding down and it just means they’re (we’re) getting older.

For me, knowing that Fall is coming is always exciting! I feel like it’s my 2nd New Years in some respects. A time to start over. A time to evaluate my business. It’s also a great time to talk to businesses about helping their business because many companies start their planning for the following year around this time.

Just like going back to school, we all need to prepare and have everything in place for the upcoming year. Whether you’re planning for January or you’re hoping to be in someone’s plan come January. So how do you as a service provider become apart of that plan?

Well, we’ve heard timing is everything. I think typically when we here that  expression we think about being at the right place, at the right time. But it’s so much more than that. Timing is patience, but timing is also not waiting. It’s a strange thing this “time.” For example, we just finished a major video campaign that took almost a year to get started on. You say “a year? That’s seems like forever.” Maybe, but here again it wouldn’t of happened if we hadn’t gone ahead and reached out at the right time, and also if we hadn’t been patient with the company as they put their internal pieces into place. You see our initial “cold email” (I hate this term) or let’s say “reach out” was in September. Then our Discovery call was in December. After that our first face to face meeting was in mid February. After that more emails and phone calls as the client continued to work out their plan for the upcoming year. Then finally in May we were asked to bring something to the table. This gave us a month and in June we pitched the video campaign to the client and was well received! Yay! After this there was more time involved with figuring out which major brand (that they sold) was going to be involved with the campaign. After this decision was made, we had to pitch the campaign to that major brand. Needless to say they loved the idea and we started the pre-production process that coming December…A year after our first Discovery Call! Yep a Year.

Was it worth the wait? Well, without getting into too much detail, the commercial spot we produced that kicked off the campaign won us an award and gave us an opening into an industry we hadn’t worked in before. For me, anytime I’m involved with something I love, something I’m good at, and something that’s bigger than me (or us) is worth the wait. When you can impact others lives and well as help someone’s business grow, that’s always worth the wait.

So, what will you be doing in this back to school season? Reaching out to potentials with expectations? Preparing for the wait? I hope both.

 

Why Dollar Shave Club got it right!

When it comes to shareable or “Viral” type videos, most of us have one or two faves in mind. You know those that leave some kind of lasting impression on you…for at least a day or two. Whether good or bad, funny or sad, some kind of emotion is triggered and you want to share what you’ve seen with your social peeps. Personally, I tend to lean towards the humorous ones, and one of my all time favorites is the Dollar Shave Club spot. Unless you live under a rock and don’t own a computer, you know exactly what I’m talking about! I know…why am I’m writing about something that went viral a few years ago? Well, because when it comes to going from script to production and on a tight budget, these guys got it right!

So why did Dollar Shave Club get it right? First off, founders Michael Dubin and Mark Levine saw a need and created a solution. I don’t want to get caught up with why this is so important when developing a product, and then taking it to market – but still it’s an important fact. So let’s really dive into everything from script to final product. With savvy marketing wit, Dubin created a script that is humorous and fluid from beginning to end. With a budget of only $4500 (from our findings), Dubin had to be creative in the “how, where, and who” of the overall production budget.

1. When you are producing a video you always have to consider the creative or idea which becomes a script. This can cost thousands of dollars from an ad agency or creative production company. In this case here’s a guy that could already write comedy. Lots of money saved right of the bat!

2. Taking script to video means you need a production company or at least a good videographer to film it. Not only someone to shoot, but also someone to direct is just as important. Finding the two in one will save you some $$ for sure! If you’re not experienced behind a camera…do not attempt. There’s a reason why Dollar Shave Club’s spot looks professional. Dubin hired a friend named Lucia Aniello, who he had studied improv comedy with in New York, to direct. She did it for next to nothing Dubin says in an interview with Fortune. More money saved.

3. Making himself the talent was huge when it came to getting it right for this video. Not only was Dubin trained in improv comedy, his confident character and tone proved to be perfect for the script and in the end saved them hundreds if not a couple of thousand dollars in talent costs.

4. Location was extremely smart and strategic in this case. Some people may not think about this, but having multiple locations (especially anything outside) can make or break a budget. Why? It’s not necessarily the rental costs involved – however this is true, but just moving from one location to another and setting up takes a lot of unexpected time. Sometimes a one day shoot turns into two or three because of multiple locations. With DSC, they staged everything in a warehouse. Brilliant! You don’t have to worry about the weather and everything can be controlled in this type of environment. Plus it gave a “home” image to where your razors are coming from.

5. The last point I’m going to make is attention to details. When I watch this video, there are so many small things going on in the background that makes this hilarious! I’d say it’s things like seeing a toddler shaving a man’s head while Mike says “It’s so gentle a toddler can use it.” Or even the opening scene where Mike has all the random crappy products in packages on the wall behind him. In this controlled environment Dubin could add in humor by reinforcing it with an object(s) on the wall or background. Genius.

So am I telling you for only $4500 you can create a video that will launch your product to a whole new level and make you a millionaire? Chances are…no. Sorry. BUT if you take tips from the Dollar Shave Club you might be able produce a marketing video that ends up doing you and your business a lot more good than bad and shaves you in dollars!

If you have interest in creating your own product video, drop me an email at todd@atlantaideastudio.com

IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD WEBSITE AS IT RELATES TO VIDEO

It just happened again. Someone sent you a viral video of the “next greatest product” and you think to yourself, “I should’ve thought of that!” OR “I’ve got good ideas. Why don’t I create a product and sell it online?” Right? So you start daydreaming about that “next great thing” and suddenly you think of it! Yep, your Golden Goose! So maybe you have some money put aside and you decide to actually produce your thingamabob and try to take it to market. You’ve asked friends and family, maybe a random stranger here or there what they think – and you get nothing but positive feedback. And now your like, “let’s make some dough!” but how? Oh I know, you’re going to sell it on your website, because that’s where people are buying these days….on the internet. You remember seeing an ad on TV or maybe on YouTube of a web company that you can build your own site because it’s so easy! That’s it! “If I build it, they will come….and they will buy! Buy! Buy!” So you spend the next few nights up late figuring out how to use the design platform within your template site. Great. “Looks good enough to me!” you think to yourself. “Now what I need is one of those ultra memorable, viral videos to spread the word and sell my thingamabob. So this might actually feel a little out of your comfort zone and you think, “I’m not sure I can come up with something shareable or even know how to produce a great video in general.” You do a quick Google search for marketing video production company, and based on the look of their site, and their work….you make a decision. Now, let me just say we all get crazy ideas from time to time. Even if you’re not the most creative person in the world you still think of ideas. It’s fun and it’s just a part of being a human being. But I want you to look at the last statement in the previous paragraph. “…and based on the look of their site, and their work….you make a decision.” I realize that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but I do. Most of us do. So what’s my point? The point is if you’re willing to put in your VALUABLE time, and your VALUABLE money, into your VALUABLE idea, why would try to attempt to do something you know nothing about? Meaning, you’re a professional something, and certainly you wouldn’t expect someone who knows nothing about your line of work to come in and do it the right way…correct?

I know this sounds like I’m bashing and trying to take away your fun, but really and truly in the end if you want to sell your thingamabob, and save money in the long run, seek professional marketing, design, and production help. We’ve seen too many times the same scenario, and products fail because they try to cut corners and do everything themselves. If you hire a professional to produce your videos, then why wouldn’t you hire someone to create a professional looking website?

So what is the importance of a good website as it relates to video anyway? Well for one, your website is your “home base” so to speak. What’s the point of hiring a creative video production company to produce a stellar video if it ultimately sends potential buyers to a website that looks like it’s from 1997?! If you want your thingamabob to shine for all to see, then put it on a gorgeous home that helps make it look even better. We’ve had an experience with a client one time where they were ready to spend thousands of dollars on a video and outdoor advertising, but their site was dated and not functioning correctly. Buttons were sending viewers to wrong places and, their Donate Now button didn’t even go anywhere! For a non-profit this is huge, because how are people gonna donate to the cause??! Again, a decision to let someone internally (who didn’t know anything about web design/development) have free reign in the end cost more money.