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Production Values and
Selling Values

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is judging creative quality on production values to the exclusion of selling values.  Production values are simply how well the TV spot is crafted in terms of photography, story, lighting, sound, music, pacing, and other technical and esthetic considerations.  It takes talent, hard work, and money to achieve high TV production values.  As consumers of advertising, TV shows and Hollywood movies, our standards for production values are very high and it’s only natural that we want our company’s advertising to look good.  That temptation can lead to expensive productions with costs of $250,000 or more for a 60 second spot.

But the saddest thing is that often the higher the production values, the lower the results of the ad.

If our goal is to make money and not win awards or be pretty, we really have to concentrate on selling values.  These include putting the 800 number or URL in the spot early and often, providing enough time to repeat the number multiple times, having a strong and forceful call to action, and clearly indicating that this is a direct response ad that asks the viewer to do something and do it right now.  The ad must get right to the point and not waste time and expense on the set up or vignette. 

Selling values are often in direct conflict with production values.  An extreme example is the ugly, cheaply shot, and in your face “Head On” ads.  To find other examples watch any cable TV news station for 15 minutes and you’ll see what works because you’ll see the same ads again and again.  And they won’t be pretty!


MAK Direct
MAK Direct