A TV Commercial Script Formula That Works (Don’t Model the Ski Lift Ad)

I just watched the ski lift commercial for the umpteenth time. And I realized, even after seeing it umpteen times, I couldn’t tell you the name of the product it promotes.

You know the ad I’m referring to. Two guys on a ski lift. The ordinary one asks his cool buddy with the shades, “Would you mind if I ask Sheila out?” The buddy responds, “Of course not. We broke up six months ago.”

Mr. Ordinary immediately receives a series of text messages from Sheila. “She says she’d love to,” “She can’t wait the see me,” and “She’s wanted me to ask her out for over a year now.” Finally, when Mr. Ordinary gets a video within a matter of seconds, Sheila’s cool ex asks to see the phone, grabs it from Mr. O, and chucks it into the snowy slope.

It’s a very funny ad. But the main characters never mention the name of the product. There are no visible signs or logos that identify a service. In fact, not until a voiceover during the final five seconds of the 30 second commercial do you learn that the AT&T 4G mobile network is the sponsor (I paid attention the umpteenth + one time when I realized after seeing it umpteen times I didn’t know the product).

It’s an ad designed to establish the brand. There is no call to action. It didn’t work for me.

I don’t recommend that format for a small business. 

The Formula for a Small Business TV Advertisement

If you run a cable ad, or produce a video for your website, include this information in your script:

  • This is what we do
  • This is why we do it better than anyone else (Features)
  • This is how we improve your life (Benefits)
  • This is our offer
  • This is our guarantee
  • This is what you need to do next (Call to Action)

Make the name, phone, physical address and website of your business prominent. State the name of your business multiple times. Have a presenter (you?) stand in front of your company sign or truck. Show your phone number at the bottom of the screen throughout.

The ski lift commercial is hilarious, but if you want results, follow the formula and model the AFLAC duck (How many times can you say “AFLAC” in 30 seconds?).

If the Royal Wedding Can Be On YouTube, Your Business Can Be, Too

Kodak Zi8

So, the Royal Wedding is going to be streamed on YouTube and USTREAM, among probably many others. Well, it’s a big event, and there’s a lot of interest.

You too, probably have a big event that you’d like to share with the world. There may not be as much interest as Prince William and Kate Middleton have generated, but you certainly have a following.

Think about the possibilities with video:

  • Promotional Commercials
  • Celebrations
  • Training
  • Demonstrations
  • Presentations
  • Interviews
  • Entertainment
Reasons to Add Video to Your Marketing Mix

You don’t have to stream live, but there are a lot of great reasons for adding video to your marketing mix.

  • Video will distinguish your business from your competitor’s. You’ll stimulate customer interest in what you do and how you do it. Sometimes maybe you’ll entertain, other times you’ll educate.
  • Video will also help you connect with customers and prospects. You’ll add more dimension to your communication by providing information visually and aurally. The production will raise confidence in you and ensure better appreciation for your solution. And, you’ll help people improve their lives.
  • Another reason to embrace video is that it’s popular with internet search engines.

If you’re concerned that video streaming and recording might be too difficult, relax. It’s not.

You Don’t Need Fancy Video Equipment

You don’t need a fancy camera, microphones, lighting or studio. You can produce from your desktop, with a handheld video camera (like the Kodak Zi8 pictured above), or even with your mobile phone. And you can record your show for later viewing.

After you’re set up, your customers and friends will stay connected, wherever and whenever, through their mobile device, TV, and streaming players like Google TV and Boxee.

You may want to start with a promotional video produced and/or edited by a third party. Look at:

Platforms for showing video on your website:

Streaming video channels:

Video is for every business. Think about how you can use it to promote your services. Then experiment.

You can see the Kodak Zi8 at Amazon (affiliate link).