Here’s how to make sure that’s not the viewer’s reaction to your new TV commercial.

Advertising is a-changing. Radio is shaped to audiences like a glove, internet channels are more targeted than ever and Programmatic TV is growing day after day.

At a time when we can identify the audience better than ever before, we can lose focus creatively. How many times have you watched a commercial but you were not even able to discern what the advertiser was trying to communicate? Or worst, a few hours later you couldn’t even recall who the advertiser was?
So, how can you avoid deficient or absent communication?

Here’s how, in one simple and feasible exercise with your agency, you can be sure the right people will get the right message out of your commercials.

It is called a Communication Objective. A Communication Objective is the summary of your advertising strategy or creative brief.

Of course, you have an advertising strategy. It delineates, at least, who should be interested in your product and what benefit they’ll derive from using it, your unique selling proposition. It may also include mood or mandatories, but the first three factors are the basics of any advertising strategy.

That’s also the essence of the Communication Objective. When your agency presents a storyboard, ask “What do we want the viewer to remember from this commercial?” Usually, communication objectives shouldn’t describe the look of the commercial.

While executional factors are important (and that’s what pre-production meetings are made for), they are not the key elements of the commercial that you want to be remembered. Of course, if you have a Communication Objective that wants the viewer to feel how easy and fun it is to clean with a particular detergent, you don’t want people remembering, “It was a dreamy moment with breathtaking music in the background”.

Communication Objectives should be few – less than five – even four it’s a bit much. If you have more, consider that you’re trying to get a single, focused playback expressing a single cognitive bit from a single viewer. Chances of delivering five different memorable communication messages out of a 30″ spot are very slim.

If you have multiple Communication Objectives, go through the storyboard and identify the particular parts of the commercial that are supporting each of the objectives. If you’re having trouble finding a match between storyboard and objectives – well, probably the viewer will, too.

Communication Objectives are useful at the production bidding stage, too. Efficient agency producers should include them in the material given to potential directors. This will be very useful for the directors to have a clear focus when they decide what their treatment or approach to the production will be.

Written by Stefano Arbitrio

VA Consulting Vitaliano Alessandro Arbitrio production advisor Cost controller