5 things to remember when creating a TV ad_

Who said traditional forms of advertising were dead?

Definitely not the brands reaping the rewards of increased website visits, social buzz, and long term brand salience (as reported by VAB Research).

The research also found that the majority of respondents trusted TV advertising to a greater degree over other mediums due to the impression that it gives of the company being advertised, ie: larger and better-established, which the respondents viewed as more reputable and financially stable – all factors that play into earning the trust of your customer.

So with that in mind, here are some key things to remember when creating a TV ad for your business.

TV ads aren’t for everyone 

It’s important to understand what you want to get out of your TV ad before throwing money at it.

Useful questions to ask:

  • Who is it for? 
  • What are you promoting? 
  • Where is your ideal audience? 
  • What channels/broadcasting stations are they watching?
  • Is a TV ad the right option for you? 

And, the big one:Is this tactic in line with my strategy?

A good PM is worth their weight in gold

Thankfully, we have our own Letitia Lam taking the lead on such projects. 

The Project Manager works on the brief with the client. They communicate with the team to ensure the right resources and people are all in place to make the production happen. They manage the overall timelines of the ad, from ideation to TV clearance process.

A production team is never a one man band 

Despite most TV ads being 30 seconds or less, you can count on the following people who will most certainly be needed throughout the planning, production, and delivery process. 

  • Production Manager | Equipment, technical oversight
  • Director | Creative output on camera 
  • Sound Engineer | Audio quality and music output 
  • Location Scouts | Filming locations required for scenes
  • Scriptwriters | Writing the story to align with creative concept
  • Actors | Portraying characters in the concept 
  • Voiceovers | Story-telling to portray tone and set the scene


Once a concept has been agreed, we then assess it for TV coverage approval before arranging the filming day(s). This can sometimes take weeks or months depending on how big the production is!

making a tv ad bts

Not all ads make TV

There is a strict and timely process that every ad must go through in the UK before it is aired on TV. This applies to all companies, products, and services, no matter how established they are. 

In the UK, broadcasters aren’t allowed to show ads that are misleading, harmful or offensive. Clearing agencies such as Clearcast check them against the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code), which sets out what is and isn’t permitted.

The approval process starts from the pre-production stage, all the way to the final video edit. 

There are 3 bodies that need to be involved in every TV ad to get it on air:

  • Clearing agency – approves your ad (specific to your country) i.e. Clearcast in the UK
  • Broadcasting advertising agency – helps get your ad in the right format for TV, ready to be aired
  • Broadcasting station Take your pick of the one you want to air your ad on, i.e. STV, Sky TV, BBC

Managing and creating a tv ad through all these bodies can be timely and stressful. So sometimes it’s good to have an agency or project manager that can help you with this.

making a tv ad bts

30 secs ad  ≠  30 secs work

We glance over most ads in our life. 

It’s a real shame, especially since every ad takes a huge amount of work. 

Don’t expect to come up with an idea today and be able to see it on TV next week (Although it is possible – The British Heart Foundation made a CPR ad, 18 hours after Christian Eriksen’s heart attack in the Euro Championship)

When creating a TV ad, you need a sufficient amount of people both on and off camera to get the result you want. Cost and time are two things TV ads use up very well. 

Considering shifting more spend to digital next year? 

Want some free advice? Add television back into your marketing plan. 

Advertising is more likely to be encoded in long-term memory if your audience encounters a unified creative message across multiple media platforms –  especially when the media has the proven ability to rationally and emotionally connect with your audience through premium, high-quality audio visual content.

But remember, TV ads are simply another marketing channel. Make sure it is fit for YOUR purpose, not the other way around.

Check out the links below to watch our team in action and learn what it takes to bring a creative concept to life for the small screen.