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Give Your Commercial Legs

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Giving something “legs” is an old newspaper term for certain types of stories that keep readers interested over a longer period of time than less interesting stories. If a story had “legs” it could run for many days and be examined from various points of view. The recent “Chick-fil-A” story regarding the CEO’s remarks about traditional marriage would be a good example of a story with legs. Started as a simple interview then grew from there.

How To Give Your Business Message Legs

Use Social Media: If you create a TV commercial, upload it to YouTube and place a link on your web site. Added bonus: Search engines will find your commercial, so give it a searchable name. Instead of “Joe’s TV Commercial,” call it “Vizio TV, top seller in Bozeman.” People searching for “Vizio TV dealers in Bozeman” will have a very good chance of finding your commercial because it has three keywords in the search — Vizio, TV and Bozeman.

You’ve already spent the money to produce the TV commercial. After it runs its course, what happens to it? You spend money to make another one. Let’s keep that first one working. As long as it’s not a sale with a time limit keep the link to it on your site. The other nice thing about this is you can track the number of people who are watching it and get some idea of the popularity of your message.

If you are selling products to customers aged 13 to 19 put out a call to local schools for models. Not just Bozeman but all surrounding areas. Feature as many kids as possible in the ad and watch it go viral. Kids tweet, email, Facebook hundreds of times a day. They will let everyone they know that they are on YouTube along with all their musical heroes.

Bring in New Customers

One of the best ways to track ads is to “key” them. “Mention this ad and get an additional 10% off on your purchase.” Keep in mind that some of your TV ads should be generic so they can run for long periods of time on your web site. Make a 25 second generic ad and then ad a five second tag line for a sale, special offer or other info that will bring customers in. This way you can change the ad as needed at a low cost.


Testimonials can last for years. If you have a loyal customer who is willing to appear in your commercial — that’s like gold. We are much more comfortable seeing “Joe Six-pack” endorsing the product than the message from the company. This is why so many companies use movie stars as spokespersons.


While your TV commercial only reaches as far as the stations signal, your YouTube version, from your web site, can be seen worldwide. Even if you don’t have a TV station create a professional version you can still add video. Try doing some of it yourself. If it turns out bad, with poor sound and lighting, then rethink your idea. Or keep trying till you get a workable version.

Some Final Thoughts

There are some great YouTube ads out there. Go to YouTube and search for “creative commercials,” “funny commercials,” or any other topic you can think of. You can also search commercials for specific industries.

Here are a couple of my favorite YouTube commercials.

Suburban Auto Group – The “Trunk Monkey” ‑ 1.3 Million Views

The Force: Volkswagen Commercial – 53.9 Million Views

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