Where's the beef?"

Many will remember this marketing message from a 1984 Wendy's television commercial, and a line made famous by then-unknown actress Clara Peller.

It, arguably, became one of the most famous catchphrases of all time, and, certainly, a successful marketing campaign for the fast food chain.

Ironically, many still use the phrase today, although not necessarily in regard to a juicy cheeseburger.

Like Wendy's, you've decided a commercial is the best way to market your business.

TV ads not only are an investment to air, they have a degree of investment to create. Production costs will vary greatly among those who create videos and TV ads.

But, without a solid message, a "pretty" TV ad is just that - pretty.

Pretty can also come with a high production price tag. And you can be swayed, convinced, that the more expensive ad to create will garnish the best results.

In order for an advertisement to succeed, it needs more than aesthetics. It needs a focused message that will get a response. So, indulge me here - Where's the beef?

n What's the message?

n Who is the intended recipient of your advertising message?

n What is the motivation for anyone to get off the couch and respond to what you're offering?

If the advertising message is solid, the more recipients who are exposed to your message, the more likely you are to have a great result.

But air time is just part of the equation. You need someone experienced in producing a focused message. A mistake some advertisers make is letting someone create their ad who may not have any production knowledge other than shooting and editing video.

In a money-saving mindset, a business owner might say, "Well, my son/friend/neighbor's kid shoots really cool videos and they'll do it free, so I'm going to have them make my ad."

A quarter century ago, investment in production equipment was tens of thousands of dollars. In 2019, video production equipment is now so affordable that just about anyone can be in the "video production business" with a fraction of that investment.

One can add computer filters to the video to give it a Hollywood film look, shoot video with their drone (and many do this without a proper license through the FAA), purchase editing templates online that provide a lot of unique movement to the video, and the result is very appealing visually.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a top quality, professional-looking final product.

As a business owner and advertiser, please don't confuse the ability to create a beautiful video with marketing experience to garnish a positive result.

If you've sponsored a great car to run in a race, and spent a good sum of money to guarantee the best chance of winning, would you let someone with little or no experience get behind the wheel?

It's the same with TV advertising.

Your message needs to be created with some "beef" behind it, by someone who has the experience to focus the message to make the register ring.

Dave Rowton is the creative services director for WPSD Local 6.

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