Another Venue For CGA: Local TV

If you ask me, the only definition of “Broadcast Quality” video production is that it be, well, broadcast. These days, no longer does one need thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment, lighting, actors, post-production equipment, monitors, playback and editing gear, etc. As equipment and software become more advanced, amateur and semi-pro producers can do a LOT more, with a LOT less.

Case in point, this commercial I produced for Dorr’s Equipment, a tractor dealer in my home town of Bangor, Maine:

Relatively speaking, I don’t have a lot of formal training in video production. In fact, all I know about it was self-taught. My Panasonic camera and Vegas software came from Best Buy, and I bought Anime Studio for fifty bucks online. Gone are the days when advertisers are beholden to the TV stations to produce their commercials for them. Nowadays, people like you and me are more than capable of creating compelling advertising at far less cost than many TV stations might charge for their production.

However, there are some things to bear in mind — constants that hold true in the creation of ANY effective advertising:

  • The message is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT factor in any ad. Is the message compelling enough to entice people to act? And are you presenting that message in the clearest way possible? Which leads me to the script:
  • In a TV spot, you have 30 seconds to convey that one message. Dorr’s asked me to promote their Zero Percent Financing on Kubota Tractors through the end of 2008, so that’s the singular message in this ad. No mention of chainsaws, used equipment, parts, service, etc. No clutter. One message.
  • There should be a certain level of quality to the production. It doesn’t have to be slick and polished — these days, I’d even go so far as to say that’s a negative. The spot can, and in some cases should look a little rough. It adds a certain personal feel, a certain uniqueness to the spot. However, it should be technically airable. If not, the TV stations probably won’t run it. It should be 30-seconds on the nose. The V/O should be clear and well-recorded, and the video should be as tightly-edited as you know how to do. Most of this is attainable with a few extra minutes of scrutiny during editing.
  • Schedule is tantamount to message. An ad that cost a million dollars to produce, but only runs once, won’t work as well as one that cost a thousand dollars, but runs more frequently. “Repetition builds reputation.” The more a message is seen or heard, the more it’s remembered. If you ask me, less spent on production, and more spent on schedule is a better investment of ad dollars.

Bottom line: Production cost doesn’t necessarily equal effective advertising. I’ve seen multi-million dollar ads aired during the Super Bowl which are not as effective or memorable as spots produced locally for just a few hundred bucks. And now, with the creativity, ability, and talent I’ve seen among my peers online, amateur creators like my brethren on sites like YouTube, GeniusRocket and PopTent have the opportunity to help local businesses create unique TV advertising that also works.

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One response to “Another Venue For CGA: Local TV

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