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Q&A: How to Make Strong Creative For TV Ads with Brian Kintz

As Creative Director at TEGNA’s Design Tank, Brian Kintz knows what goes into making beautiful TV ads with a strong message and, better yet, driving results. Here are his best practice tips to help your brand create the best and most effective TV ads ever. 

Meredith Cunningham Published: June 8, 2023
Q&A: How to Make Strong Creative For TV Ads with Brian Kintz image

By Brian Kintz, Creative Director at TEGNA’s Design Tank 

With a team of experienced marketers, TEGNA has helped many brands evolve their brand messaging, creative, and media strategy to help grow their business and reach new and existing customers. Whether your brand is in need of traditional broadcast spots, native advertising, or long-form digital content, our team of content creators is standing by to put good ideas to work for you.

But there’s one question we get asked all the time. What makes for great TV ad creative? How do we make an ad that really stands out and brings in results?

We sat down with Brian Kintz, Creative Director at TEGNA’s Design Tank, to find out. He’s been with TEGNA for five years, and his role has evolved from taking The Tank from purely a news graphics department to a full-service in-house agency, which includes creating spots for our advertising partners. He has worked through countless production shoots, editorial sessions, color sessions, and design projects, all with the same end goal as TEGNA – creating the best spots to drive results, whether direct sales or driving subscribership.

Q: How can brands – no matter what industry – can make the best ads ever?

A: By listening to your clients and customers first, what are their value propositions? Who are they trying to reach? Find this information first, then craft your creative to drive those results. 

With most brands and most products, you’re selling a lifestyle. You’re painting a picture of a “me too, yes, I need or want that” message. Think about the SUV where the car is plowing through the winter snow or driving through the most rugged terrain. Most people don’t drive like that, but they love the idea of knowing they can. Craft the story your customers want to hear, not the ‘yell & sell’ approach. It’s much more effective. 

Q: How do you use humor the right way?

A: Humor is really the most wonderful way to sell a product, but it must be done right. I like to think it’s because we’ve all had funny moments in our lives, so really, humor hits at all of us, just on a basic human level.

True humor in advertising should be tackled and addressed by a copywriter experienced in writing it. Otherwise, it can come off as cheesy and mostly ineffective. You don’t want to turn your potential customers off. Another element that is almost a necessity with humorous spots is having talent that can pull off humor.

Q: We know it’s important to connect emotionally with the audience. What’s the best way to do that?

A:  I can’t say I know the ‘secret,’ but emotion can be driven by several things in your spot.  Music is the main driver that tells us how to feel. Is it heartfelt, sad, funny, or even tense? Music is that baseline and needs to be chosen carefully. Another driver that can let us know how to feel is color. You’ll always see cooler colors (blues, greens, etc.) for uneasy topics or scenes.  Warmer colors are used for good feelings, cozy feelings, and familiar and safe feelings. 

Q: What’s the secret behind a great call to action?

A: That’s an easy one. Make it simple, clear, and legible. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading text on screen or hearing it in a voiceover. Clarity is key. Get that brand logo or mention in there. Always close out the spot with the ‘who’ or ‘where.’

Q: Where’s the best place to run your ads?

A: On-air is still alive and living well, and I think it will be a viable place for many years to come.  When you run your ads with a TEGNA station, this is where your ads WILL be living alongside trusted journalism. Aside from that, we can’t ignore the power of ‘pre-roll’ in ad-driven streaming services, YouTube or Facebook.

Q: What would you tell a brand worried that creating a TV ad will cost too much?

A: Wonderful results-driven spots don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but they do require collaboration and often patience. Our in-house marketing and commercial production teams can achieve so much, from shooting your creative to getting a great final spot produced. They are skilled at keeping costs down and working lean on all types of projects. Realistic deadlines don’t hurt, either.  

Q: Can you share technical best practices?

A: Shoot with quality cameras and lenses for a professional-looking spot. Use great lighting, and pick well-scored, appropriate music. Be sure to get several sets of eyes on the copy. You want different perspectives, and collaboration (especially with those outside clients) is key.

Sound Good? Partner with TEGNA for your TV Advertising Creative

At TEGNA, our ultimate goal is to equip brands with data and insights to inform creative, then amplify those messages with cross-platform campaigns, including linear, streaming, and digital elements. With 64 broadcast stations in 51 markets nationwide, our unique content opportunities will connect your business to the audiences that matter most and deliver proven results. Let’s get in touch to see how we can help your brand grow with the power of TV advertising.

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