FMP Research: Writing a commercial

As I am wanting to create a commercial for my preview element of my portfolio, I decided to research into how commercials are made. I found this guide by The Startup talking about the 8 steps to creating a promotional video

Here is what I learnt from the article and the steps needed to create a promotional video.

Step one: Identify your goal.

Every commercial will have an aim as to why they are making the video. Some common goals may be:

  • To increase brand awareness
  • Drive sales of a particular product or service
  • Drive traffic
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Educate customers

Step two: Choose a direction.

A direction is what will be the angle you want to promotional video to have. There are many different types of directions you go in:

  • Introductory: tell your audience who you are/explain you mission
  • Explanatory: explain how something works (like your product or a specific feature of your product)
  • Problem/Solution: show a comparison between an old way/ new way. Introduce a problem and how your product is the solution.
  • Narrative: Use story elements (plot, conflict, resolution etc) to subtly introduce or explain something.
  • Drive action: get the audience to do something. ie shop now, subscribe to a service
  • Testimonial: interviews, quotes, sound bytes etc with customers around a specific topic/theme.
  • Endorsement: use of celebrity or influencer approval/likeness
  • Informative: educate your audience about something specific, tutorial like.
  • Entertainment: delight or inspire audience using story/humour.

Step three: Set the tone.

Tone can be described the general character or attitude of something or how your video is going to make the audience feel. Here are some examples of the different types of tones:

  • Dramatic – moves you emotionally
  • Straightforward/informative – clear and concise
  • Conversational – casual and authentic
  • Urgent – requires you to take action
  • Fun/playful – uses creatives devices such as humanisation or personification of non human objects (anthropomorphism)
  • Humorous – comedic, makes you laugh/smile
  • Quirky – uses perculiarity or the unexpected to drive home a point
  • Entertaining – aims to inform/entertain
  • Inspirational – uses inspiration to drive home a point
  • Artsy/hip/cool – feels youthful, stylish, trendy etc.
  • Luxorious – shiny, fancy, flashy, sexy, rich, high- end etc

Step four: Decide on a duration.

When deciding a duration you have to consider your goal, where the advert will appear and the overall budget for the video. If you can tell your story in a minute then the duration shouldn’t be any longer than that, consider the attention span of the viewer and try not to bore them.

Step five: Choose a video style.

When making a promotional video there are many different ways you can represent your idea visually. People don’t tend to stick to just one video style and may even combine a few styles for their promotional video. A few styles you may go for could be:

  • Animated
  • Real people (actors with dialogue or interview subjects)
  • Broll – to supplement the main footage
  • Stock footage – video you can purchase to create your story, usually used quite sparingly.
  • Live-action – a combining real life with animation or SFX
  • Screencast – a digital recording of a screen
  • Whiteboard – a message being written or for use when creating diagrams or drawings
  • Phone/tablet/app – showing something specific on a device, an app or someone scrolling.

Step six: Outline the idea.

Write a paragraph that essentially summarises the idea. Refer to the concept itself, looking at it through a high-end perspective. Then look at details such as:

  • Scenes – how many scenes? Locations?
  • Characters – how many? Who are they? What is their story? What do they look like?
  • Audio/Voiceover/Text overlay – will it be set to the sound of someone’s voice? Any background music or text across the screen?
  • Props – any major props to make the story work?
  • Final CTA – what is the call to action/last message you want to leave the audience? What do you want them to feel?

Step seven: write the script.

A script will help you structure your promotional video.

The main things you want to include in your script are scene numbers, timestamps, audio/dialogue/voiceover and a description of the scene. Here is an example:

Step eight: create a storyboard.

A story board will help you see the visuals of your promotional video. Each image should correspond to some kind of description/dialogue. An example of a story board:

I will be using these eight guidelines to create my own promotional video and I believe this research has really helped me understand my aims for the video, the process in creating a promotional video and how to structure it. Following from this I will be applying these eight steps to the process of creating my own promotional video.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s