The 8-Step TV Commercial Production Process
How We’ll Produce Your TV Commercial and Get Your Brand on Air
The TV commercial production process has a tremendous number of variables such as locations, number of filming days, the acting talent, legal clearances, music licensing - even the desired weather! Yet, the production timeline often gets determined by working back from an approximate airdate - therefore, it's better to begin discussing campaign objectives and creative concepts as soon as possible! A close deadline usually calls for a more streamlined production concept!
That said, for many TV campaigns it is adequate to begin planning commercial production a couple of months out from the estimated first transmission date. But, straightforward sales or activation commercials developed from simple product images and motion-graphics could sometimes be turned around and delivered to the broadcasters in as little as a couple of weeks.
Develop Your Media Plan
You begin the TV advertising process by developing an initial media plan (narrowing the audience you're trying to reach with your TV ad, and how to access them) with either a media-buying agency or a broadcaster's own sales team; to advertise on Sky, this would be your local Sky AdSmart representative. Media planning comes ahead of the TV commercial production as the fees charged by broadcasters for showing your commercial will always be the largest cost centre in any TV campaign - so it's best to get an idea of these first. With your media strategy and budget prepared, you can then brief us to produce a TV commercial to deliver to the channels in your plan. If you don't yet have a plan, we can put you in contact with the right people!
Brief Us on Your Campaign
Alongside the media plan, your campaign's creative concept is a critical step in the advertising production process. Although producing a TV commercial can often be tremendous fun, we keep the objective of your campaign at the forefront of our development process. Advertising is as much science as it is an art, so we always take a strategic approach to developing campaign creative. We will pitch several creative concepts to you – all with complete scripts, demo renders or storyboards, a budget breakdown, and a TV commercial production timeline. Check out other examples of effective TV ads.
Clearcast Script Approval
When you have chosen a creative concept, we will submit the script – including descriptions of the visual elements – to Clearcast, the body responsible for advertising standards compliance of all the UK's TV commercials. Clearcast verify that the claims you wish to make in your commercials are legitimate. They will often request substantiation of special offer periods, efficacy trials, or customer surveys. Script clearance is a standard part of the advertising production process, and all advertisers must pass through it. We will handle the entire process and if any compliance changes need to be made at this stage, it's no big deal.
Producing a TV commercial efficiently – and within its production budget – requires careful pre-production planning. A motion-graphics led campaign might go straight into production, as it is relatively straightforward to make alterations at each approval stage. Planning a TV commercial shoot requires far more planning (auditioning and booking talent, finding and booking a filming location, specifying equipment, gathering and preparing your products) all of which we allow for in our production timeline.
Shooting Your Commercial
If your commercial is a live-action shoot – either on location or in a studio – it will often be organised to make the most cost-effective use of just a single day's filming. We take care of all the logistics of the shoot, including any required permits. Whenever actors or your products are in-vision we will bring in a Makeup Artist and Production Stylist to make everything look the best it can! A filming day is a smooth operation from start to finish. You are welcome to attend the shoot, or in some situations we can arrange a live camera feed to be streamed to you via Zoom.
This is where the magic happens! Commercial post-production brings together editing, colour-grading, motion graphics, dialogue recording, and the final audio mix. Post is where we pull together the kit of parts to produce a complete TV commercial. We will send you regular approval versions throughout the post-production process so that your input can help shape the final commercial.
Approval and Sign-off
At the end of the TV advertising production process there is the formality of submitting the finished commercial to Clearcast. This is to check the final ad has not deviated from the script approved at the outset, and also to check that graphics and supers (the small print at the bottom of TV commercials) are both legible and held on screen for enough time to read. Once Clearcast has approved your commercial they certify that broadcasters can air it.
At the end of the advertising production process is the delivery of the finished ad to the channels. Your commercial is checked for quality, then given a unique identifier known as a 'clock number' - from here on, only the clock number will be used to identify your commercial in broadcasters' playlist scheduling systems and addressable platforms. We deliver 'the clock' to AdSmart from Sky - and any other broadcasters in your plan - using a media logistics provider who will perform a battery of technical quality control checks on the video file before distributing it to broadcasters.
Want to discuss the TV commercial production process for your own campaign? Drop us a message!
TV Commercial Production for Agencies, Brands, SMEs, and Local Authorities
Commercial Production for Local Radio, National Radio, Spotify, and DAX
Video Marketing Content and Corporate Video Communications
Why We’re the Right Team to Work With
We’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge through almost forty years of production for thousands of clients in almost every conceivable business sector. The majority of our team have been working together for more than ten years, and several for more than twenty years. We’ve been in the game long enough to anticipate problems before they happen. Put simply: Our team really knows their stuff.
The Right Priorities
We produce broadcast advertising campaigns to a high degree of creativity and professionalism. We make even the smallest of brands appear to be the dominant player in their market. But, we never pitch a concept or produce a commercial that prioritises an artistic vision above potential sales impact. In short: You'll be working with commercially-minded businesspeople, not artistic divas.
We're In The Know
We've got a substantial book of contacts in advertising agencies, media agencies, and broadcasters. We're a Sky Media Production Partner, and we work with Clearcast daily. We're well-connected and keep our ears to the ground. While others might focus their attention purely on the creative aspects of production, we possess a rounded knowledge of the entire advertising industry.
Surely, no website could be complete without the obligatory client logos? So, here are just a few of the many great brands we've worked with.