In the same way that dress rehearsals for weddings or theatre performances help iron out any glitches prior to the big day, they also serve the same purpose in advertising.

Pre-testing rough advertising at an early stage – such as an animatic – is an economical way to gauge a concept’s potential as well as optimize ideas prior to investing in final production. Furthermore, the process oftentimes salvages and improves ads that may have otherwise been discarded based simply on failing report card measures. However, to take an animatic successfully to a finished ad requires a balance of staying true to the original idea on which it was based while still taking advantage of optimization opportunities.

Below is a short list of elements to keep in mind throughout the production process to help achieve success in producing a finished ad.

Story Structure: Remember that even the tiniest of changes can materially change the story’s structure. It is crucial to understand the role of the brand in the story and keep this role consistent between finishes. Not doing so can change the emotional structure of the ad, which may then dramatically shift the generation of positive or negative emotion – and consequently, your ad’s performance.

Tonality: Maintaining a similar tone is important when moving a strong animatic through the stages of production. For example, different types of humor or shifts in emphasis from rational to emotional information can significantly impact tonality of a spot, taking the power away from the proven success of the idea.

Pacing: Increasing or decreasing the visual pace of the story can impact measures such as Attention (entertainment value) and Branding (a/v sync).

Maintain the Brand’s Visual Presence: Ensuring that the brand/product occupies the same amount of visual/verbal real estate will help to preserve Branding. Restructuring of imagery can result in products having less screen time or being overwhelmed by executional elements, leading to weakened Branding.

Casting: Staying true to character portrayal protects how messages and entertainment are conveyed to viewers. Keeping characters, to whom viewers responded positively, consistent throughout casting and tone of performance will be important to maintaining success.

Visual Communication: Advertising is a visual medium. Pictures speak volumes and keeping consistent meaning behind this imagery plays a key role in maintaining the success of an ad. Bringing stories to life visually is very important in advertising, if something works in pre-finish, stay true to the nature of its original visual communication, it will pay off in final media.

Verbal Communication/Loss of Focus: Strong ads are well focused and single-minded in messaging. It can be very tempting to add just one more point in the finished spot, or pull in just one more RTB. Loss of focus in messaging will impact an ad’s performance.

In short, a strong dress rehearsal can help lead to highly successful production. However, finding success in finished film is not a matter of luck. It takes diligence to keep true to what consumers told us worked well in the first place.

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