The Process of Making a TVC : FMCG Brand Marketing


Developing a Mass media communication is probably the one of the most glamorous or sought after projects by most marketing enthusiasts. It is also one of the most likely core marketing projects one can get because brands don’t often reposition themselves. After-all sticking to a positioning, and establishing it clearly in the consumers mind, is quite fundamental to brand marketing. As a matter of fact, communication refreshment also happens once in 2 years if not less. Think of it this way, it takes at least one to two years to clearly communicate a brand message, how many brands or brand communications do you know which are less than a year old ? Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to make quite a few of them so far and hence I’m sharing what I could gather. I’m sharing below the process of creating a TVC which is the most expensive and detailed process of all the creative endeavors in FMCG marketing. The Creative Brief:

The first step to creating brand communication is writing a brief. This is of course assuming that the brand Key and positioning has been clearly defined. Now the brief writing I believe is one of the most important skills in marketing. I’ve often seen marketers put the blame squarely on the creative agency without being clear about the brief. A Creative brief typically has a standard template followed by the creative agency.

The adcepts and Scripts: Typically about 3-4 weeks from issuing the brief is when the creative agency comes back with scripts. Scripts are generally categorized under various adcepts. For example Cadbury celebrations communication briefs probably had the objective of tapping into the increased dessert consumption during the festival season because of gifting. Initially on the same idea Cadbury had launched a “Iss Diwali Khushiyan le chalo” campaign and later moved to “ Iss Diwali Kuch accha ho jae, Kuch meetha ho jaye”. Remember these are adcepts and various scripts can be made to bring alive these adcepts.


Qualitative Testing of Scripts:

The qualitative research with the target consumers is typically done in the form of Focused Group discussions (FGDs) with a moderator. The objective of a qualitative research process is to

1. Eliminate an adcept route or script that is completely disliked by the TG

2. Find out what’s liked, what’s disliked and what can be improved in the scripts

3. Red flag any unknown consequences of the communication

The Qualitative testing can be done using various types of stimulus

1. A voice-over narration of the scripts commonly known as a Narrimatic

2. A voice-over narration of the scripts along with still images of the likely visual commonly known as a stillomatic


Quantitative Testing:

Like with any Quantitative test LINK test for video based communication provides you the performance of the stimulus on pre-decided parameters. Remember it’s very difficult to get deeper insights through any quantitative process and hence it’s important to do qualitative research before doing a Quant.

A LINK test broadly verifies the creative on two major parameters

1. Ability to generate Awareness

2. Ability to persuade TG to buy

There are other finer attributes such as relevance, distinction, etc. which are tested but let’s leave that for another time. There is also another popular research methodology called Neuro but, we can cover that once it becomes more mainstream in the Indian FMCG market.

For now, you should know that the stimulus for a LINK test is an animated version of what would be your expected TVC. This is known as an animatic.


Script Finalization and PPM:

Typically you would put two animatics into the LINK test and go ahead to create a final TVC on the one that performs better. (I say typically because I’ve done otherwise but, I’ll share that story later). Now once the script is final. You invite a director and a production house to make the final TVC. The shoot is generally quite an expensive affair ranging from Rs.50 Lac to 1 cr and sometimes even Rs.2 Cr (not considering the money being paid to the celebrity, If any). It’s therefore important to have a Pre-production-Meet or a PPM to decide exactly

1. How each line is going to be said.

2. What clothes will the artists wear

3. What kind of a location would it be

4. What time of day is to be depicted

All of this is decided for every frame of the proposed TVC.


Shoot and Final presentation:

The Shoot takes place post the PPM. The Brand Manager agrees on the PPM and it’s the responsibility of the creative agency to deliver the expected outcome through the shoot. Having said that, I personally do prefer to be present at the shoot for my brands. So now that the TVC is ready the next question is -where will you run it. That dear marketer is a subject called Media Planning.

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