What Problem Does Your Commercial Solve?

Every commercial is designed to solve a problem. Before you can create a commercial that works, you first need to be clear on what the prospect’s problem is. Once you’re clear, the next steps in the creative process will be easier.

How do you get clear? Turn the problem into a question—in fact, several questions; not the same ones your client brought to you, but questions from different points of view.

Ask the questions your client’s prospect could (or should) be asking. These can be smart questions, dumb questions, naïve questions, impossible-to-answer questions or rhetorical questions.

For example, if your client has a dental or orthodontic practice:

“Why do I want to keep all my teeth? Why would I want to pay someone to nag me about flossing? Why would I want to have my mouth poked and prodded for an hour and end up with a numb tongue for an afternoon? What’s the difference between a visit to the dentist every six months and the agony of a root canal? How would I feel about being embarrassed to smile because people would see my teeth? What would regular maintenance mean to me if it would give me another forty years of healthy teeth? What’s keeping me from going to the dentist now? What else do I hate about going to the dentist? How do I choose a dentist?”

Ask questions from the points of view of:

• The owners

• The owner’s relatives

• The employees

• Customers – happy ones, unhappy ones, quirky ones

• Advocates

• Devil’s advocates

• Prospects – those who need the advertiser, those who don’t

• Competitors

• A six-year-old

• You – what would make you want to spend your money with the advertiser?

The answers you get to these questions may not be the ones you expect. This is good. They may lead to a unique copy approach. They may reveal little-known benefits. They may suggest a new service for the advertiser to offer. (This is very good.)

This process will help you to define the problem, find a number of innovative ways to introduce it to the audience, give you a path to a solution and form the basis for a campaign.


Why on earth would you want to contact Jeffrey at Hedquist Productions? For answers to creative problems? To comment on this article? To see if that story about him opening for the Beatles is true? Email jeffrey@hedquist.com.

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