How to Submit Commercial Ideas

by Cheryl Munson; Updated September 26, 2017
Use comedy, visual effects  and drama to make the commercial compelling.

Think you have a winning idea for a commercial? Have you written a jingle that you know could drive sales of merchandise and products? The advertising commercial industry is all about coming up with stellar ideas. Study current commercials on the air. Figure out the marketing strategy, target your audience and pay attention to the techniques used. Include strategic information to help sell your idea to advertisers and agencies.

Items you will need

  • Script
  • Jingle
  • Storyboard
  • Audio or video demo
Step 1

Develop your idea to look or sound professional and inquire about outside submission policies. Check company and ad agency websites for submissions guidelines. Not every advertising agency or company will accept submissions from individuals who are not employees. They refer to outside ideas as “unsolicited.”

More and more companies are sponsoring contests for commercials and even uploading them to Internet sites like YouTube.

Step 2

Develop a script or storyboard. Radio and television commercials are based on scripts and storyboards. A script details each line that a performer will read, along with the tone they are to convey in reading their lines. The script also details lines for the slogan and what type of music will be included.

Commercials for television are presented in a format called a “storyboard.” It’s like cartoon-size images that depict the action that will be filmed for a 30-second commercial. Very similar to comic book pages, storyboards show the actors, the product and how each scene aligns with the television commercial script. To increase your chances for success, shoot the entire commercial and submit it.

Step 3

Submit ideas for jingles or slogans. Advertisers often look for outside sources for music or “jingles.” This is one area where outside submissions might get attention from companies and advertising agencies. Write and record jingles about your favorite products and make a demo tape. Submit the tape to commercial music production houses. They might be interested in your services as a jingle writer, composer, singer or musician.

Step 4

Get names of marketing directors. Once you have a script, storyboard or have recorded an idea for a jingle, develop a prospect list. Find out the names and contact information of marketing team members for the brand or service by searching corporate websites.

Find out contacts at advertising agencies. The creative director is responsible for developing commercial concepts and ideas. Do research to find out the name of the advertising agency that represents the product for your commercial idea. Call the agency and ask about their submission policy.

Step 5

Contact local television and radio stations. This could provide a window of opportunity. Local television and radio stations are often understaffed when it comes to developing commercials. Call the stations and ask for the name of the advertising director. Inform the director about your idea. Have your script or storyboard prepared to send to them by email. If your idea is strong enough, you could be offered an opportunity to provide commercial ideas on a freelance basis.

Step 6

Protect your idea. Remember that any work you send will be viewed as unsolicited. Make copies of your work and mail them to yourself. Never open the envelope once you receive it. If you can prove that your idea was copied, you can use the postmark date and the contents in the unopened envelope to support any potential legal claim. The postmark will support the date that you created the idea, in the event that you might need to substantiate a claim in a legal dispute.

About the Author

Cheryl Munson has been writing since 1990, with experience as a writer and creative director in the advertising industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a focus on advertising from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

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