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If You Watch Commercial Television Then You are a Target!

Updated on September 17, 2016
copywriter31 profile image

James Ranka earned two BA degrees. One in Mass Communications; the other, Music Performance. He is also a photographer and photo artist.

Photo Artist: James Ranka
Photo Artist: James Ranka

The Subtle Effectiveness Behind a Top TV Commercial

Like a factory running 24/7, TV commercials stimulate the television viewing cosmos, selling computers, cars, beer, running shoes and a thousand other items.

An effective TV commercial captures viewers using a formula of imaginative imagery, beautiful graphics and product benefit demonstrations.

The effects embedded within these subtle broadcast gems rip holes in viewers' heavily guarded walls of emotions, break down their resistance barriers and open the normally closed, intellectual doors leading to much higher sales numbers.

Take, for instance, the cereal in a can product - most just call it beer. Beer TV advertising accounts for a billion dollar economy injection every year... Most spent on TV commercial advertising.

Scientific research reveals more men drink beer than do the female population, and demographic bounce back also reveals young men aged 19-29 are extremely susceptible to the foxy, young and hip TV commercials rolled out like an old baking recipe, always finding and adding a new ingredient for a slightly different taste.

Beer branding is a highly competitive business, so brewers browse shops to find the best in the field of TV commercial concept design— targeting the vast, beer drinking male population for successful branding with top TV commercials.

What a Top TV Commercial is Actually Doing

For further clarification, I've chosen to stay with hawking beer via TV commercial. Think about some of these outstanding campaigns and reflect on what you observed.

  1. We see the crowd laughing and having fun as beautiful women sit very near handsome men consuming the ad's sponsored beer.
  2. Scenario #2 opens with a love-stricken, young male walking the streets - head down; sad expression. He rests at a local pub for a "frosty one". The love of his life walks in; she sees he is now drinking the masculine can of beer this changes everything! Her cold traits of no attraction change to being madly in love with our forlorn male. The now enraptured couple is quickly and magically transported to a church... you know the rest.
  3. Still another approach depicts a less- than-vigorous-male looking back over his day and with a lot of help from his on-camera 'friends' remembers the blunders no real man would make.The on-screen graphics and the narrator all tell him to man-up!
  4. Finally, Dos Equis beer dubs a 70 year old male as "the most interesting man in the world".

Beer commercials are devilishly clever and focus on the things a beer drinking man treasures... "Wine, women and song" - better yet, make that "beer, women and football".

The top commercials show every significant product benefit possibly squeezed into a 30 second TV spot. But if you think showing benefits is the only essential needed for injecting power in your commercial... continue to read!

Photo Artist: James Ranka
Photo Artist: James Ranka

Sell The Sizzle - Not The Steak!

You may be pop-eyed to know that a top TV commercial exudes convincing and selling power through selling the sizzle, not the steak.

Showing a product's benefits is an absolute necessity in the famous TV commercial formula, but the power shot hits target when sell the sizzle, not the steak, is accurately fired.

Plain English explains it this way... the top TV commercials have creatively shown the product benefits, and have done it in a subtle way that touches universal human emotions impossible to ignore.

When you hear the unmistakable sizzling steak sounds what are you thinking? What do you visualize ... and most importantly, what do you want?

Yep - you want that steak and you'll gladly pay a handsome price to have it that very minute!

  • Your mouth begins to water
  • Your appetite meter significantly rises
  • If the sizzle catches you unawares, anticipation of ordering and eating that steak rises to the top... in fact, the emotion of expectation will most likely lead to your actions of ordering steak for tonight's dinner.

And all of this happens before you see the steak!

Going back to washing that steak down with a beer, do you think the close-up shot of the beer can, or the "fact" that Boomhauer Beer is said to be more delicious than Lite and Life Beer, or the commercial announcer says 'take advantage of our 12 pack sale now' convinced you to buy this particular brand over another? By now, you should see the answer is NO!

This is not voodoo or magic, it's advertising 101 and it works because the human mind is programmed from birth to operate in this manner. As a 7-year-old, do you remember seeing that bag of Sweet Tarts on the supermarket shelf?

You didn't need those sweet and sour, green, yellow, dark purple and blue roundish tablets that made your mouth shout with tart flavored saliva, but boy oh boy did you ever want them and you would have done most anything to get the money for that 5 penny investment—Up to, and including, "borrowing" a nickel from Dad's pocket change purse. Got it?

Top TV Commercial + Emotional Arousal = Sales

Remember the fake TV spot where the love-stricken young male walks into a pub: His love interest walks in behind him. She sees him drinking the "right beer". She immediately falls in love and they are whisked off to a church where they are married. Following is a partial list of emotions this TV commercial affects:

1. Affection
2. Lust and sexual desire (high on every male's list at the age of 25.)
3. Passion
4. Arousal
5. Longing
6. Joy
7. Boredom (relief from)
8. Sadness (this beer is my cure for sadness; think I will go out and buy a 12 pack.)

I could add many more emotions this type of commercial will affect, but you should have the idea by now.

Most local ad agencies and production companies either do not know or choose to ignore this proven expertise... when you are interviewing an agency or consultant to create your next TV commercial ask them this question: "How are you going to achieve the 'sell the sizzle not the steak' approach with my TV spot?"

Only the very best ad agencies, TV commercial producers and production houses will have the knowledge and experience to correctly answer your question.


© 2013 James Ranka


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    • copywriter31 profile image

      James Ranka 4 years ago from Port Neches

      Wow! Compliments like yours make copywriting a joy! Thanks very much, Cathy.

    • profile image

      Cathy 4 years ago

      Mr. Ranka, you are an awesome copywriter. Your style is original and your ability to make complex subjects understandable is second to only few. I enjoy reading your material - thanks for sharing your talent.

    • Crazy Motts profile image

      Crazy Motts 4 years ago

      Awesome post copywriter31!!!! I totally agree to what you have written, especially to the ideas of "selling sizzle" and "ripping holes through wall of emotion."

      I did some research that I strongly believe would support your ideas with real data.

      Crazy Motts profile image30

      Crazy Motts says

      I would like to share with you my survey-based research on television advertisement and consumer behavior. Here is the link to my blog post with the report (pdf version available for free download):

      This got featured in CNN iReport:

      Feel free to visit my blog and see if my research helps you in any way. My objective of doing that work is to create public awareness against unethical advertising.

    • copywriter31 profile image

      James Ranka 5 years ago from Port Neches

      Appreciate you dropping by, pstraubie48. TV commercial writers know how to tug at the heartstrings.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Yeppie...often the commercials the effective ones reel us in before we realize what has happened. You really know you are hooked if you react later when you see the product and buy it.

      The part I really dislike about commercials is the way they are directed at kids but that is another hub, for another day.

      thanks for sharing this

      Sending Angels your way :) ps