Video Production and Commercial Trends
With DVR and ad-free subscriptions, tv commercials are a tricky business to work with. However, enough effort in the right place and the toughest wall with fall. Ads today don’t rely solely on the fun jingle or a hot model to sell. They have become as good at telling stories and creating characters as a full-blown TV series.
A full TV series is overstating it a bit. Most of these plot-driven commercials are a simple short story split into 30-second bites. The events tend to follow the basic Hero’s Journey. For example, the Target Christmas commercials from 2015 involve a group of kids journeying across a strange land to fix the Christmas lights. A group of heroes with a goal to reach and obstacles along the way. The 2012 Goldfish commercials are similar with the main character setting out on a journey, meeting new friends and getting into shenanigans, like preparing for a talent show, investigating a crash site, or searching for a lost friend. It isn’t just a video of people enjoying Goldfish.
Characters not Mascots
A story isn’t always necessary, though. It can be as simple as giving your mascot a bit more depth. Flo, the Progressive Insurance Girl, has made over a hundred commercials and been around for nearly a decade because they made a relatable, genuinely nice character that evolved over time. She started as a simple saleswoman and then they expanded on her by giving her relationships with coworkers and as of 2014, they introduced her family. As a side note, the actress who plays Flo, Stephanie Courtney, spent 12 hours total in the makeup chair to play all six parts. That says something about production values on modern commercials.
Some characters are so likable that they tried to make entire TV series out of them, such as the GEICO Cavemen and the Skechers Super Hero Shoes that developed into an animated children’s show. Each of these series only lasted one season, but that’s because it’s hard to turn a 30-second commercial into a full sitcom. However, they did do well as commercials. They wouldn’t consider investing money on a full series if these weren’t characters people enjoyed.
The point is, these aren’t just mascots with catchphrases anymore, they’re thought-out characters with backstory. In a golden age of TV, people look for characters and story to get invested in. So, consider giving them something more than a slogan.
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