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What goes behind a 30-sec television advertising spot in India?

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

You can listen to the podcast of this same blog post, here


They say you need to do things yourself to appreciate the effort.

But that may not always be possible, however, does that then give us the right to judge something as good or bad?

Well, that depends!

I have seen so many of my friends, or family members, appreciating a TV commercial, and even ridiculing some.

Clearly not taking into account the fact, that may be, a particular spot was not meant for them in the first place to like.

We are living in a situation where knowing what it takes to make an ad spot, may in turn make us appreciate the effort.

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Did you know, it could take anywhere from 4 to 6 months for a television commercial to air?

Yes, that’s true!

But have you ever thought about what goes behind a 30-sec television advertising spot in India?

If you have, this blog post will help you understand it well!

Let’s start with understanding what kind of advertising am I referring to here

1. Introduction to Advertising

For this particular blog post, the term ‘advertising’ may be loosely used, but I am only referring to the television advertising spots.

Those advertising spots that may not be welcome during your cricket match breaks, the same advertising spots that you choose to mute because who wants to listen to brand stories?

These advertising spots cost the brands a bomb!

And may involve multiple sleepless nights for an advertising guy.

But well, of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should like them, but knowing what goes behind making them, definitely is, interesting!


2. Reasons to know what goes behind the advertising spot?

There are so many people out there, who wish to join an advertising agency, claiming it to be the most glamorous field out there.

In fact, I have spoken to a couple of people who believe advertising is all party and fun.

And trust me, I have had those typical looks when I told someone I work at advertising.

But not many are aware of the sweat and efforts that go behind an advertisement, and the advertising field requires you to be on top of everything, all the time!

This blog post will get you a feel of what’s it like working in an advertising agency and releasing an advertising spot on air!

This includes my personal learnings and experiences, so make sure to read it right till the end!

MUST READ: Analyzing Google Advertising Campaigns in India 2020

3. Departments in an Advertising agency

To understand the process of developing an ad campaign, it’s important to first get a brief overview of the three most important advertising departments.


a. Account Management/Client Servicing

I call them the lifeblood of the advertising agency, whereas others may refer to them as the perfect middlemen.

These are people who are responsible for the end-to-end delivery of the advertising campaign.

So as someone working in the client servicing department, you will need to get the client brief, understand it yourself, make other departments in the agency understand it as well, and go through all the work in between!


b. Account Planning

These are people who provide step 1 when it comes to developing an advertising campaign.

These are your ‘market research guys’ and help in figuring out the approach that a brand must take to communicate what they need to.

c. Creative Department

Possibly the most important, and irreplaceable department of the agency.

The creative department is further divided into 2 other departments, copy and art.

Art includes your graphic visualizers, whereas, the copy team focuses on the content and scripting.


4. The process of creating an advertising spot

Now that we are briefly aware of the departments within an agency, let’s look at the step-by-step process to create an advertising spot.

Please note, that the process may differ based on the client and the agency under consideration, however, the majority of the steps still remain the same across.


Step 1: Client Brief

The first step has to be the client brief, now this can be as brief or as elaborate on the client needs.

It can just be a one-liner that says ‘We need to introduce the new toothpaste variant’.

Or it can be elaborate, stating details about the new variant, the target audience to reach, competition analysis, etc.

Departments involved: Client Servicing


Step 2: Planning route/Market Research

Now that we know more about the client brief, it's time to involve the planning department for some brainstorming!

The planning department uses models and planning tools to come up with this one consumer zone to target through your advertising.

If the area is completely new, the advertising agency may get into some market research here.

Departments involved: Client Servicing & Planning


Step 3: Creative Approach

At this stage we know the broad route that we wish to target, so here comes the creative department to decide on the story/idea that can creatively reach the consumers.

Normally an advertising agency comes up with two or more routes for the same broad consumer zone, and then the client gets some variety to choose from.

Departments involved: Client Servicing & Creative

MUST READ: Everything that's wrong with the White Hat Jr. advertisements

Step 4: Storyboards

Once your creative route is finalized, a 30-sec ad spot script is written.

Keeping in mind what you need to communicate, and what is the end result that you are expecting.

These are then converted into something called ‘Storyboards’, these are very similar to a comic strip illustration.

We are just using a visual element to depict the story, this stage can be in the form of pictures or animation, commonly referred to as ‘Animatics’.

Departments involved: Client Servicing & Creative


Step 5: Market Research

These storyboards need to be tested out with the consumers, to see their reaction to the communication and whether they understand what is being communicated.

This is normally outsourced to some marketing research agency.

Do let me know in the comments below if you’d like a detailed post on market research!

Departments involved: Client Servicing & Planning


Step 6: Shoot

The next step is the shoot, now depending on the demand of the script, the shoot location may be in a studio or outdoors.

But even the shooting process is a long one, right from casting to shooting!

Departments involved: Client Servicing & Planning

Step 7: Post Production

One of the toughest jobs, we need the spot to be 30sec long, and our shoot edits may be an hour or two long.

That is because each scene might be shot differently, and the stitching of each scene needs to be flawless.

Departments involved: Client Servicing & Creative


Step 8: Media Planning

Even this step is outsourced to a media planning company, and typically involves the client interacting with them directly.

Media planning takes into account the budget allocated, target consumers, and medium of communication.


Step 9: Airing

This entire process may take anywhere between 4-6 months on an average, but can also be trimmed to two weeks, if the need arises.

The last step is the final airing of the ad spot on television!


5. Conclusion

Hope this article has helped you in understanding the working of an advertising agency as well as the process involved in creating an advertising spot!

Make sure you share the article with all your friends interested in advertising!


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