Enjoying what you’re reading? Sign up now.


Top 10 Do’s of Dealership Television Ads

Top 10 award
Article Highlights:

  • Creating a TV commercial doesn't have to be hard.
  • Develop a consistent theme.

What makes one television commercial make a product fly off the shelves, while another goes completely unnoticed?

It’s not a star actor, top-dollar special effects, or a soundtrack straight from the billboard charts. It’s often the basics that keep a brand’s product in the mind of consumers.

I interviewed an award-winning local commercial producer, Bruce Hughes, to get his thoughts. He’s seen it all in his 15+ years, from commercials for bail bondsmen featuring a comic strip of 1930’s era masked bank robbers to infomercials starring poodles on scooter bikes selling dog-nail trimming devices.

Together we boiled down a list of ten do’s when producing an upcoming spot for a local television advertisement:

1. Reach out to your manufacturer. Your manufacturer should be able to provide you with a running package (i.e. graphics, template, video, and photos). Why not take advantage of the professional footage if you have access to it?

2. Pick a location. Whether you decide to film your commercial in the dealership lot or in your office, make sure it’s tidy and clean. Nothing says unprofessional like stacks of paper everywhere with old coffee cups all over your desk in the background.

3. Research demographics. When you meet with your advertising representative, discuss what shows will be playing while your advertisement airs. Is it a game show? Is it the news? Think of the demographics (age, gender, etc.) and try to target those viewers specifically. For example, if the age of your viewers is between 26 to 35, you’re probably not going to advertise retirement homes.

4. Ask for added value. You should be able to negotiate with your advertising representative. Ask for added value with your advertisement. For example, if you spend a certain amount on advertising, what can you get in return (weather sponsorship, web banner advertisements, etc.)?

5. Create a script. Be sure to create a script ahead of time. Write out your lines on paper or on cue cards, which leads to number 6…

6. Practice, practice, practice. If you take the time to create a script, why not be fully versed in what you’ve spent time writing? By practicing your lines ahead of time, you’ll be more at ease. In the end you’ll come across as more professional and trustworthy on screen.

7. Repeat your advertisement. Unless it’s broken, don’t fix it. When you run a commercial and it’s effective, why change it? Don’t be afraid to run it over and over again. By the time you’re tired of it, people at home will be seeing it for the first time.

8. Focus on top graphics. With more and more households using DVRs, the bottom of the screen will be covered if the viewer decides to fast forward through your commercial. By placing graphics on the top of the screen, you’ll be able to ensure the viewer sees them regardless if he or she watches your commercial live or on demand.

9. Ask for a copy. Once you film your commercial, ask the television station for a copy of everything you filmed. You can take this to other stations as a pre-produced spot. You should also be able to repurpose it on your own website, YouTube, etc. Be sure to consult with your legal team.

10. Be aware. If your spot is missed for a national announcement, whether it be from the White House, a weather alert, etc., call the station immediately and have them run a “make good.” You’ve already paid for the spot. Be sure they run it.


Overall, the theme is consistency. You want to engage your viewers, not scare them away. If you follow these simple rules, it should result in a successful campaign for your store.

Be sure to check out “Top 10 Don’ts of Dealership TV Ads,” part two of my series on TV ads coming out in the next edition!

Share this Article

Katie earned a bachelor’s degree in Media Management with a minor in Business from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She was a Marketing Communications Professional at Reynolds and Reynolds in Dayton.

Related Articles:

old black and white image of a man driving a car

The Evolution of Cars and Consumer Expectations

Have you ever thought about how far the automotive industry has come since the creation of the first car? From three-wheeled cars to punch-inducing Volkswagen Beetles

Reviewing data

4 Things Every Dealership Can Do to Prepare for Future Success

Right now, your dealership is successful and running smoothly. That’s a great first step towards ensuring future success, but there’s always more work to do.

Do's and Don'ts of AI

Do’s and Don’ts of Automation

AI is the next level of automation. Let's go back to the basics and think about some of the do’s and don’ts of automation.

Dark storm clouds and lightning over an empty field

Is your dealership prepared for storm season?

Storm season brings expected and unexpected disasters. Dealerships need to have a plan in place to help them recover if Mother Nature attacks. According to