Types of TV Commercials
As time goes by, most businesses find that less expensive print and radio advertisements no longer bring in an adequate amount of new business. In order to maximize market share, a business must take its advertising to the next level and move into TV commercials. Donald Gunn, former creative director at advertising agency Leo Burnett, identified 12 separate categories of TV commercials. Most businesses, however, make use of only a few types.
Essentially, a spokesperson ad employs a single person to represent the product, company or brand. The theory is that viewers will connect with the spokesperson psychologically in a way they would not connect to a product or service. These ads can feature a local or national celebrity talking about the business, which works as a basic celebrity endorsement. The business owner might also take on the role of spokesperson. This approach ties the credibility of the business directly to the credibility or reputation of the business owner. In other cases, the spokesperson uses the product or service and offers a testimonial
Demonstration commercials are a staple of television advertising. Demonstration ads take advantage of the visual element of television by showing viewers what the product can do in context. For example, if you sell cleaning products, nothing communicates why the viewer should buy more effectively than showing the products remove dirt and grime. An effective demonstration ad must reiterate the product name; otherwise, it runs the risk of the viewer remembering the effect, but not the product itself.
Businesses also use the problem-solution commercial approach to good effect, in large part because of its versatility. This approach overlaps with the demonstration ad for products, but also works for services that rely on a skill-set. A tax preparation service, for example, could run an ad that featured a disgruntled-looking person surrounded by tax forms. The ad cuts to the person going to the service and then getting a refund check. Good problem-solution commercials should always accomplish one goal: identifying the business or product as the right solution to the problem.
Infomercials operate as the television analogue of the long-form sales letter. This falls beneath the direct-response approach to advertising, in which the commercial asks the viewer to call or write-in to place an order. Infomercials employ a hard-sell approach that highlights product features and benefits, often with hyperbolic language, while minimizing problems or limitations. Infomercials can range in length from a few minutes to a half-hour. This advertising approach works best with physical products that are new to the market.