Attention to detail and good concepts define ads' success


A good concept is critical when it comes to making a great commercial – even if there are budget constraints or newcomers are tackling their first project to make an M-Net TAG PSA, said the judges of this year's awards.

"There were many very good entries from newcomers but the ones that shine through are those that showed a strong concept and clear message." said Thabang Moleya, director at Bomb Productions.

"You don't need big production values to win a TAG, you need a great idea and polished implementation" Peter Carr of multi-award-winning Velocity Films said: "It always comes down to the idea. Get help in writing the script or have a good creative person check your script and idea before shooting it.

"Find a decent, fresh idea. Watch a lot of top end commercials and aspire to something great, not something mediocre.
Take more time crafting your work. Do not just go and shoot anything loosely or without lots of planning."

New approach needed

There was also advice from Mzi Kumalo of Star Productions: "A lot of the entrants have the belief that their messages needed to be sad or dark to strike a chord with their audience. There are few charitable causes that can be made humorous.

"However, that said, I think we need to find more innovative ways of communicating messages; this year I found a lot of them too literal."

So what was the standard of this year's entries like?

Desiree Markgraaff, the M-Net TAG producer said: "There was promising work from newcomers, which showed young people really engaged with who their audiences are as well as the challenges facing our society as a whole and not limited to their personal issues.

"An example of this is winner of newcomer concept Blair Witch Barbie, which points out the dangers of plastic waste through a fun, original idea that really engaged young audiences.

"Another example is Drive Blind, which brought home the dangers of texting while driving."

Carr was hugely impressed with My Son, The Flyer, winner in the newcomer category.

"These students put in an enormous amount of work into making this commercial.

"Firstly they wrote a good script and found an excellent voice over to go with it.

"I could see they planned their production well and used awesome cinematography on each and every location. A lot of work went into the casting and styling.

"But for me it was the performance of the child that brought this one home. It is not easy to get a strong performance out of a young boy and the director of this commercial really cracked it.

"It was emotional, crafted beautifully and the call to action was strong. It was a standout, well deserved winner in this category."

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