Wedding Videographer Television Commercials?
So while I was editing today I got to thinking - has anyone here ever heard of a wedding videographer running television commercials? Normal event videography has more of a niche market that I wouldn't this as a valuable marketing method, but what about wedding videography? I would think this market would have a better potential of gaining business through this medium. Any thoughts anyone?
Adam C. Erickson
Adam C. Erickson Productions
Probably the cost factor for a TV spot would be the biggest reason for not doing it. We recently finished up a gig with a major radio station in our area and their marketing dept. approached us with a reduced rate, whereby we would get our commercial on-air 20 times a month (sometimes more) for a year. The cost still worked out to $16000.00 total which is apparently a good deal but too rich for our blood right now. It's a shame too, because there are no video companies in our area at all that do radio spots, so it would be a huge advantage to be the only game in a town with 1.5 million people.
[Adam Erickson] "Normal event videography has more of a niche market that I wouldn't this as a valuable marketing method, but what about wedding videography?"
If I was going to spend mega-dollars on a TV spot I certainly wouldn't limit myself to just one segment of the market but would ensure that all aspects of my video business would benefit from the advertising. Even wedding videography companies usually market themselves as "event videographers" and probably would advertise on TV/radio with that in mind.
You would want to be sure that you could handle the sudden influx of orders. Sounds like the kind of "trouble" most people would love to have, right? But if you have to turn a bunch away because they all want to book the same weekend, have you really done any favors to anybody but your competitors?
Plus, radio and TV commercials are generally very scattershot: you are probably going on in drive time for radio when everybody is in their cars, you are hitting one engaged girl or mom of the bride for hitting a hunded non-customers that way... doesn't seem to be good demographically. TV is worse: on cable, they promise to play you mostly on, say, Lifetime, soapopera and Oxygen channels, but I think they still put them up on random channels and times. Audiences for TV have been plummeting all year. It would have to be a spectacular deal for me to consider it.
Now perhaps if the station has one of those "Delilah" type radio shows, with all the gooey dedications, corny letter readings and six Celine Dion songs in a row marathons, then perhaps a wedding biz commercial in there would get more of the key audience.
I think the better way to use TV and radio commercials is to buy in to a co-op group package promoting a weekend bridal show or bridal expo. This concentrates only pure sales prospects, the brides and their moms, herding them into one killzone, as it were. Brides and their moms account for probably 95 percent of the hires for wedding event coverage. Grooms may get to pick the reception band or DJ, maybe even have a say on the honeymoon travel planning, but pretty much everything else wedding-related is usually a tag-team of mom and daughter.
[Mark Suszko] "This concentrates only pure sales prospects, the brides and their moms, herding them into one killzone, as it were."
The station producer is going to love that one when I tell her.
My wife and I talked about this today actually, specifically about how we would cope with the generated business and how much of that extra business we would need before we made our money back from the ad cost. We both agree that it would be beneficial to our business. The radio station that approached us is an obvious choice, as their demographic is women between 25 and 45. They sit down with us and design a "call to action" commercial that they guarantee to be broadcast 20 times daily in prime time. I just noticed in my first post I said it was 20 times a month. That was incorrect. They also added that usually they exceed the 20 times a day thing but anything over 20 is not in prime time, but when they have "dead time". They of course suggest doing it for a year to build brand identity and familiarity and that's a logical approach. You can't blitz the airwaves for 2 weeks and expect the listener to retain the info long term.
Given the fact that no one else around here in the video biz does radio or TV ads it would be a huge marketing advantage. It's just the initial cost. Yikes. Anyway, the jury is still out on this one.
Repetition alone is not the only way to build brand identity. That's lazy, IMO. Pure repetition with a message that's never refreshed gets tuned out.
You could instead sponsor related events, contests, charity fundraisers and themed remotes like fashion shows, battles of the cover bands, humorous cake-decorating and-carrying relay races, karaoke contests, best/funniest wedding toast contest, etc. The idea is if it is wedding-related even in just a tangential way, you want to attach your name to it by association. Like motorcar-related manufacturers sponsor race cars, trucks, etc. You could make something like the "best toast" or "best wedding joke", or "How I knew she was the one" audio essays, sponsored and BRANDED with your name... a daily 2-minute feature on the morning radio show, and have people schedule their listening to hear your sponsored event, instead of passively absorbing "conventional" spots.
A truly hungry and creative sales director for the station should be very anxious to try some of these for you, as they also raise the station's own profile.
Moreover, while these are radio remotes or promos, something like the cake races would also net you legitimate press coverage in print and TV, for free. Show me a local TV news director who WOULDN'T run funny video of ladies trying not to drop a huge, fragile, high-stacked wedding cake as they run, then falling into a pile of cake and frosting, with shrieking crowds cheering them on. You KNOW they would run that as a closing thirty seconds, and probably three minute packages on slow weekends. With your sponsoring name prominent in the shots. Heck, you may volunteer to shoot it yourselves and send it out as a VNR to more than one market!:-)
And don't forget youtube! Have you SEEN the number of hits for clips where the wedding party's first dance suddenly breaks into choreographed mass-dance scenes like "Thriller"? That seems to be a huge trend lately, kind of "Bollywoodizing" the reception. Thousands of hits. check it out yourself. Some of the above-mentioned events would be very clip-worthy. I am NOT saying you should throw away elegance and class and just do a lot of wacky-tacky promotions. But look over the ideas, generate some of your own, to find and tweak the ones that promote your image while still getting attention from your key demographics. What about a set of interview spots, called "One Year After", where you hear a couple sound bites from a first anniversary couple? Then you hit them with the fact the video captured it all and brings those memories back time after time, one year or twenty years from now. See? Classy, romantic. Cheap to do. Sells you without making you sound like anything else the station sells, from funeral homes to used cars.
"Call to action" spots work better for heavily-repeatable bulk commodity purchases than your kind of unique, only-doing-it-once kind of service anyway.
Let's be frank: nobody is going to change or set their wedding date based on YOUR schedule as the videographer, right? No, the key factor in setting a date is the availability of the church and the preferred reception hall. Everything else flows from that, backwards and forwards. The secondary influencer is weather, for travel, general guest comfort, and the honeymoon, which is a strong reason June is the real popular month.
So a radio spot saying you have a special deal going on NOW, even if it is just to encourage a deposit to reserve you for advance bookings six months off, is not IMO going to move a lot of booking decisions except for the brides that already have a date that coincides with the deal.
I think it just makes you sound desperate for bookings, whereas the sponsored events can also take you thru a year's worth of coverage, but never make you seem like you're dying for bookings, rather, that you're just intimately associated with wedding-like stuff in your town at all times. Puts you top of mind in a completely different way than pure repetition. I would argue, a more useful way.
[Mark Suszko] "A truly hungry and creative sales director for the station should be very anxious to try some of these for you, as they also raise the station's own profile."
Since our advertising experience using radio is pretty much zero your comments and suggestions are much appreciated. Whether or not we actually decide to take the station up on their offer remains to be seen but you're helping to make it a more informed decision.
This Wednesday evening we're attending what basically amounts to a wrap party for the recently completed project we helped the radio station with and I'll be sure to bring up modified ad ideas and suggestions with the station marketing manager.
[Matte Blume] "You'd not want to place an "annual" on one station.
If you're in a metro area, its likely that there are 20-30 (+) radio signals in the area.
Putting $16K on just one of those stations is not exactly "broad" marketing. "
Agreed, but if we only have advertising dollars for one campaign this is the station to go with, as their demographic is very specific and targeted at females between 25 and 45. So now we have a big decision to make IF we decide to do any radio spots at all: do we target only for the wedding side of our biz or make the commercial more of a "we do this and this and this" kind of thing? I would suspect it would end up as a modified wedding spot because of the station's demographic. However, if the truth be known, we're actually trying to tone down our wedding biz while increasing the corporate stuff. It's to the point now where we have to decide to go big or stay home.
Hey, but this is not my thread. It belongs to Adam and he was asking about TV ads for Pete's sake.
I wouldn't say it's "my thread," it's more here for open discussion. It's been interesting to hear everyone's views on the topic. I certainly see the value of being the only man in town on TV or radio, but on the same note it would really depend on if you can make back the advertising money back from the investment.
Thanks for your thoughts everyone! Keep up the good discussion. :)
Adam C. Erickson
"So now we have a big decision to make IF we decide to do any radio spots at all: do we target only for the wedding side of our biz or make the commercial more of a "we do this and this and this" kind of thing? I would suspect it would end up as a modified wedding spot because of the station's demographic. However, if the truth be known, we're actually trying to tone down our wedding biz while increasing the corporate stuff. It's to the point now where we have to decide to go big or stay home. "
You will only know grief, trying to advertise both at the same time, in the same place, in the same way.
This is really something you need to figure out before you take another step. Advertising Corporate video stuff for radio, I'm not seeing, except as low-key sponsorship during the business reports. Advertising the corporate services on TV, well, maybe on cable with placement in FNN and CNBC, but you're fighting uphill there, I think: Unless you can already show clips from high end prestigious projects, you're going to look too poor to bother with.
Instead of example clips, an all-motion-graphics "identity" piece may work better, because it lets the business viewer fill in the blanks with imagination. Throw a ton of Aftereffects and 3-d at it, mega eye-candy, but all tasteful and crisp and uncluttered-looking.
I would maybe pitch it like this: opening images are of a tired-looking, very pedestrian powerpoint. Then you blow it up, destroy it, yanking out elements one at a time and replacing them with upscale 2-d and 3-d graphics and animation, like renovating an old house into a mansion, or rebuilding a junk car into a hot rod.
All while a competent and confident-sounding voice-over intones some copy about professionalism starts from the ground-up. That your staff knows ( and by the graphics we're watching we SEE they know) how to take your basic information and format it to attract new business, excite your customers, to tell your story.
In a down market, most people reduce their advertising; my opinion is, that's the time to advertise more than ever. The ad guys are hungry , hurting, and ready to cut deals, your competition is hiding out, you have the floor all to yourself. You can grab market share and mindshare, and when the bulk of the customer base is ready to buy again, you are the one that's top of mind.
[Don Greening] "We recently finished up a gig with a major radio station in our area and their marketing dept. approached us with a reduced rate, whereby we would get our commercial on-air 20 times a month (sometimes more) for a year. The cost still worked out to $16000.00 total which is apparently a good deal but too rich for our blood right now."
While that may have been a "good deal" for the station, it is a lousy plan for a small niche business.
You'd not want to place an "annual" on one station.
If you're in a metro area, its likely that there are 20-30 (+) radio signals in the area.
Putting $16K on just one of those stations is not exactly "broad" marketing.
When I first started out doing professional video, I contacted every wedding consultant, bridal shop I could find to see if they would let me put up a display of my services in their shop.
A few already had a business relationship with my competitors but I found one the was a new business and three others that were looking for someone like me. I had some contest forms printed up and supplied 1000 forms to each bridal shop with a free wedding video contest poster and entry box. I did one free video from each bridal shop and had lots of warm leads for follow up sales calls. Only cost me about $350 for the printing plus the free weddings which I wrote off as a marketing expenses.
It helped my business a great deal and kept my advertising expenses down.