Behind the scenes: Filming our first ever TV Ad

Man watching television on armchair

So far, 2016 has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Our number of members has grown quite dramatically and so has our team. So back in February, our marketing team got their heads together on how we could further communicate the value of our products. The result? A new and shiny TV ad.

Coming up with the idea

Working on the TV advert was really fun and quite honestly, a little surreal. For a small startup, venturing into the world of TV is a major moment, and it was definitely met with a mix of excitement and trepidation.

We sent a brief outlining our main goals to a number of creative agencies, of whom about six to seven pitched their concepts. As we’re not simply selling a new product, but also a new way to shop, we wanted to tell our story and explain the concept. Our brand values – honesty, simplicity and trust – had to be conveyed clearly in the advert. While we wanted to showcase our products, we also wanted to retain the aesthetic of Cornerstone. The balancing act of achieving a direct message with a strong branding isn’t the easiest. So even though the branding team was pushing for a sexy ad, we had to resist the temptation and stick to clear education given that it would be their first exposure to Cornerstone for many men. Don’t worry- we’ll save those sexy ad ideas for the (near) future.

From creative idea to TV

Once we had the creative concept, we focused our attention on placement and media spend. As this was our first tv campaign, we wanted to gain as many insights as possible. We worked with an analytical media-buying agency who were able to spread our ad placements across over 20 channels, at a significant spend spread to test the best performing days, times, channels, etc. As a small startup, testing what works best for us is key to understanding the impact of our work.

Moreover, the ad had to be approved for broadcast by consumer protection agency ClearCast. As their main task is to ensure all content is honest and clear, ensuring all claims were approved before production began was crucial. This is the most expensive part of the campaign, so we definitely couldn’t afford to go through it twice!

The challenges of filming our first TV ad

As any startup, we were very aware of our budget constraints (#StartupLife) so we knew that whatever we ended up with had to be really good to maximise our investment. Doing a TV ad is definitely a risky and expensive project.

Another challenge we encountered was ensuring the rest of Cornerstone was ready for the increase in sales and web traffic. That meant that our customer care team had to work around the clock to handle the increase in queries. Our dispatching team was swamped with new orders. And our tech team kept busy optimising our website so all potential new members received a smooth experience.

The TV ad

If you’ve already seen our TV ad, we hope you liked it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? — get watching TV! Whilst we didn’t have any superstar actors  (or any actors whatsoever!), our voice-over was read by the son of a famous Shakespearean actor, so keep your eyes peeled!