The advent of digital media has forced a rethink in traditional advertising. With half the world’s population now online, brands now have to target the growing online market. The popularity of visual content has increased as more users look for instant gratification in their content. From online videos to TV commercials, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for a video script.
A script describes your advert and including various shots and any dialogue/voice overs. It is an essential planning device for commercial productions. If you want to reach your target audience on television or online, you need a plan for your advert. Without a script, it becomes impossible to deliver a logical commercial for a brand.
This is a fundamental requirement across all advertising channels. Even the shortest online visual and audio ads start with a script that guides the message delivery.
This post delves into the intricacies of commercial script writing. It covers the reasons to invest in commercials, steps to follow in commercial script writing and sales copywriting, qualities of a good advertising script, among other pertinent topics.
Do Commercials Still Work?
Whether you want to launch a new product or service, promote your brand, announce a promotion or a sale, a commercial is always the most effective strategy. Whether you use online video or television, your advert can greatly impact critical metrics for your marketing campaigns.
Your advert unlocks your brand’s marketing potential in a big way. Some of the reasons to use a commercial advertisement include:
- Quick introduction of new product/services to the market
- Reaching a targeted market for more effective outcomes
- Flexible budgets for advertising based on your unique needs
- Increasing foot traffic or web traffic to your store
- Expansion of the market(Wide Reach with Commercial Advertisement)
- Versatile marketing ( it works for customer retention, customer acquisition, and meeting other key metrics)
- Leveraging the power of visual in television and internet adverts
- Great branding opportunity
- Custom advert to suit your brand
- Increased sales
- Fighting off the competition,
- Building and enhancing good-will amongst your customers
- Educating the consumers
- Supporting other marketing outreach programs
- Availability of tracking and measurement of your commercial
- TV adverts creatively fuse visual and audio to foster emotion and empathy
Check out this one-minute commercial scrip sample;
Do you have a child who absolutely loves to cook? Our cookbook, Love at First Bite, will make every cooking experience fun and memorable. Your little kitchen helper will get recipes of their own that they can try under your supervision.
Teach your kids how to follow recipes by letting them prepare brunch or breakfast, as you observe. They can even surprise their friends with baked goodies they made from scratch. When was the last time you visited Grandma? How about you bring them dessert your kids made the next time you see them?
Our cookbook is ideal for children between ages three to ten. You can get a physical copy or an eBook that’s perfect for tablets and iPads.
Love at First Bite
Young Adult (18-35 Years), Middle Age (36-54 Years)
Male or Female
At First Bite, love is a cookbook designed to help kids between three to ten years cook different meals. Parents and guardians will get inspiration for activities they can do with kids in the kitchen. The one-minute script we have provided will be used to target a global audience.
The voice for this project should belong to a family man or woman to inspire families to explore in the kitchen with their kids. Use a carefree style while remaining endearing and warm so the silliness is not over-the-top.
Why You Need a Script for your Commercials
With all these advantages, the outlook for commercials looks great but it only works with the right content and delivery. This is where a script comes in handy for your TV or online video commercial. When planning a commercial, it’s crucial to appreciate the impact it can have.
A commercial gives you have the chance to make a great impression on a target audience. People who have never heard of your business before will get the chance to learn about you through a message packaged into a few seconds.
Even with digital media generating a lot of hype, 80% of the population watch TV on a given day. As a marketer, these are numbers you can’t ignore. If you package your advert properly, it can unlock a lot of opportunities for your business.
Now, consider that video is the most popular web content today, and you’ll appreciate why you need to leverage video ad placements. Video is not only the most engaging form of marketing content; it’s also the most popular. Recent reports show 85% of Internet users in the U.S. watch video content. This includes adverts, educational content, entertainment videos, animations, and other forms of visuals.
To harness the power of visuals, you need the best script to guide your commercial production. A lot of planning goes into a script. This planning helps create TV commercials that spark a connection with the audience.
Through scripting, you also identify all the necessary ingredients required to make your commercial great. This is a crucial stage of production for a commercial that sells. A good script includes:
- The stock footage used for the production
- Locations to be used for the scenes
- What action happens in each shot
- All details to be included in each shot.
- Elements such as voice-over narrating, onscreen actor(s)
- Amount of action in each of the shots or just a narration?
- Choosing the kind of video (narrative or descriptive)
A commercial script is comparable to the importance of Adwords copy within an SEM strategy. Without a team of SEM writing experts, you won’t be able to get the most out of your investment. Likewise, without a good script, it’s impossible to bring to life those marketing ideas. This is a well-thought-out vehicle to craft an advertisement that sells.
Guidelines for an Effective Commercial Script
A commercial is short and this presents a big challenge for the scriptwriter. How much information do you include to pass the message across? When starting the scriptwriting process, the writer first talks to the brand to draw a project plan. Some of the important steps and guidelines for a commercial script include:
(1) Understand the Brand’s Advertising Strategy
Some of the requirements included in a brand’s advertising framework include:
- Advertising objectives
- Audience to be targeted (according to demographics or other segmentation characteristics)
- A positioning statement
- Brand personality
- Desires outcome of the commercial
- Unique selling proposition of the brand
It’s essential to collaborate with the advertiser to understand all their needs. At this stage, you also need to identify the contact persons to guide you through the project. The scriptwriter needs a lot of information from the advertiser, and it’s important to establish efficient communication channels.
An effective script starts with intense research to know what a client want. You have to take time to review past campaigns, understand the advertiser’s business. During your investigation, identify the client’s pain points and come up with solutions. Your findings help you to come up with a commercial script that perfectly suits your clients’ goals.
(3) Timing is Everything
For a TV commercial, timing is everything. A very long advert will bore the audience while a short one sounds hurried, unprofessional, and might not pass the message across. You have to creatively balance the action and words, transitions, and other aspects of the script for an effective commercial.
(4) What’s the Advertiser’s Mission?
There’s no one-fits-all advertising script. You have to dig deep to understand the client’s mission. It’s also advisable to discover the company culture to ensure your script’s ideas dovetail with the brand’s mission or vision.
(5) Competitor Analysis
Who’s the competition, and what are they doing to reach the target market? It’s easy to review marketing content today through platforms such as YouTube. Spend a lot of time watching how the competition has formulated its campaigns.
Through your research, you discover new ideas to boost the quality of your script. Competitor analysis can also give you new ideas on how to approach the advertisement.
(6) Write the Script
As you brainstorm your script’s ideas, start writing a draft. These early attempts will give you a direction for your refined script. This is the draft you refine with time though you should be flexible enough to shelve the entire idea and start a new if the need arises.
(7) Add a Call to Action (CTA)
What do you want viewers to do after watching the commercial? Do they call, go to the stores to make a purchase, visit your website, or send a text. When writing a CTA, use a powerful command verb to start the statement.
You should also include words that evoke emotions and enthusiasm. Your CTA should have some urgency and it must also clearly indicate why viewers should take the desired action. Leverage FOMO (fear of missing out) by making viewers feel like they might lose a great opportunity.
(8) Get An Objective Opinion
Share your script with other creative team and accept constructive criticism. After refining different areas of your script, present it to the client for review.
(9) Keep It Unique and Interesting
The last advert you can recall off the top of your head must have been unique and catchy. This is what you should aim for in your commercial. It all starts with the script. Tell a simple story that viewers can follow from start to the call to action (CTA).
(10) Don’t Go Overboard In Any Way
Don’t allow any aspect of your script to overshadow the message. From the action, humor to the creativity, moderate every ingredient to get a balanced script.
Here’s an example of a well-written commercial script;
15-Second Internet Ad Sample Script:
How do you make your morning smoothies? How about using a voice-activated blender that helps you pick out ingredients for a nutritious breakfast? The Mix It Up blender helps you kick start your day with a burst of flavor.
Mix It Up Inc.
Young Adult (18-35)
Male or Female
Mix It Up is a new voice-activated blender that reads personalized recipes out loud. It saves users from searching for sauce or smoothie recipes every other time. It also features settings and blend speeds that are voice-activated. To counter the roaring sound of the blender, it plays upbeat music to ensure users start their day on a positive note.
The internet video ad needs to depict a user going through the motions in the morning. Struggling to get out the bed when the alarm goes off, hitting the snooze button, and finally dragging themselves out of bed.
Their Mix It Up blender should then provide an uplifting experience that turns their mood around.
The voice should be of a guy or girl next door who was initially grumpy but is now upbeat because the Mix It Up blender streamlines their morning.
Upbeat, Sales, Personable
Crucial Elements of a Script
When preparing a script for your advert, you use a two-column format with “video” on the left and “audio” on the right. It’s important to ensure the video and audio line up horizontally. This makes it easy to follow the action or scene while hearing the corresponding music, sound effects, or dialogue. Anything not in the actual dialogue should be in ALL CAPS.
- Left column: contains anything the viewer sees on the screen. In a screenplay, this would be the scene description and action lines. You have to be precise and concise when writing visual language.
- The audio column: The script’s audio column is on the right side of the visual one. Here, you’ll include the dialogue, voice-over, sound effects, or music.
Other elements in the commercial script formatting include:
- Heading: This includes the name of your brand, a title describing the product or service. This is necessary when working with a video production company or a scriptwriter. The heading also includes their name, script draft number, date of submission, and the commercial’s total run time (TRT).
- Scene Heading
- Character Name
What Makes a Great Commercial Script?
A script ensures your commercial captivates the audience and delivers the intended message. You can have a beautiful commercial which is not however effective. This means you don’t meet any or some of the KPIs you have set for the campaign. So what are some qualities of an outstanding commercial script?
Before we get into details, here’s an example of what we’re talking about;
30-Second Voice-over Sample Script:
Are you ready to have fun in the sun? If so, you need Gatsby’s Surf Action Store to plug you with oversized, absorbent beach towels. We’ve got you covered at the beach with sunblock, swimwear, flip flops, and scuba gear.
Before you go to the beach, stop by Gatsby’s Surf Action Store to start your summer off right.
Gatsby’s Surf Action Store
Young Adult (18-35 Years)
Male or Female
Gatsby’s Surf Action Store is a local store right in Long Beach, Vancouver Island. The voice-over project will incorporate an assortment of scenic visuals taken on the Pacific Rim National Park that capture one of the world’s most natural environments. The images will include sandy beaches, cottages that line the shores, resorts, breath-taking sunset, and of course, beachwear and accessories.
This project’s right voice is a mash-up between a sales representative voice and that of a hip dude or lady.
Radio and Television
Your commercial scrip will only work if it engages the target viewer. You have to stand out and avoid clichés in commercials. There’ a lot of noise in the digital marketing landscape and your audience is already engaged elsewhere. To draw them to listen to your advert, you have to offer something unique.
It’s not easy to obtain and maintain your audience’s attention. It requires a careful analysis of the products or services you’re promoting to define those unique qualities that can help you get through to the audience.
- Brand Representation
One of the main reasons for scripting an advert is to integrate the unique qualities of the brand. A good script must represent the brand advertising. This requires a lot of research to familiarize oneself with its mission, vision, philosophy, and other unique characteristics. These qualities must then reflect in the script you prepare for the production.
- Proper Editing
One of the greatest blunders a scriptwriter can make is to miss grammatical errors. You have to go through every word in the script and then look at the way these words connect. You have to consider the syntactic, semantic, and context of the script before the production. Luckily, a good script is short and to the point and it’s easy to notice any glaring errors.
There’s so much content available to consumers today. If you use the same old concepts for your advert, it will most likely fail to connect. Always use a fresh take on any commercial ad idea to captivate your audience’s attention.
- Proper Formatting
When writing a script, consider the standard formatting method used. If you’re the scriptwriter, remember a producer or voice over actor will have to use the script during production. Scriptwriting software makes your life easy when formatting your content.
- Show Don’t Tell
For a TV or online video advert, you have to show more action than narration. It’s easier to remember visuals than the spoken word. Great action replaces many unnecessary words that would otherwise increase the commercial time.
- Right Choice of Actors
The choice of actors is also an important part of scripting for a commercial. Characters are key when writing the script for an advert. The best actors (including voice actors) should reflect the brand and help it achieve its advertising goal.
- Precise Dialogue
If you invest more in action for your storyline, you don’t have to struggle to come up with good dialogue. Your script should feature snappy dialogue that your audience will easily relate to. Don’t exhaust your viewers with a lot of words because they will forget the message quickly.
- Right Tone
While many advertising videos have great entertainment value, you should craft your script based on the brand. Not all brands need a humorous tone for their adverts. A funeral home, for instance, might not appreciate such a tone. Do extensive research the brand to identify the best style to use in the script.
- Brief and Concise
Your script should be simple, brief, and concise. Don’t test the audience’s patience because it won’t end well. You have to strive for brevity, especially for today’s highly engaged viewer. Attention spans keep reducing and if you don’t pass your message fast, you might not meet your objective.
What value does your product or service add to the target viewer’s life? Your script must answer this question succinctly. To get material to answer these questions, go back to your research.
Commercials are highly effective in promoting a brand, expanding market reach, and ramping up conversions. This is the most effective technique for a new brand or an existing one to generate some hype. It’s easy for a good commercial to start making rounds across multiple channels in today’s digital market. It all begins with a well-written script.