How To Apply The “Movie Trailer” Formula For Effective Commercial Advertising

First, please watch the trailer in its entirety (even if your kids made you see this 2,000 times)…

If you saw this in the theaters last summer, after the Green Band, the Disney and Pixar logos are a tease…you know what’s coming. Something animated.

The overall tone and style of the animation are a dead giveaway.

But then, Buzz and Woody come on the screen. Instantly, mentally, the deal is closed. Then, the Pig, Dinosaur, Jessie, etc. all show up. That’s just icing on the cake.

Then, the real tease begins. You’re treated to one minute and fifty-five seconds of pure hilarity…before any mention of the title, which doesn’t show up on-screen until the last ten seconds of the trailer (after the 1:55 of scenes from the film).


The goal of a movie trailer is to entice you to formulate on your own whether or not (based on the sequences purposely shown) to plunk down your money to see the film. The big deal in Hollywood is that “opening weekend” number (fans of “Entourage” on HBO may recall an episode based almost entirely on this fact). The more they tease you, the higher the odds that you’ll be there when the film opens in theaters.

So, it doesn’t matter that you already know the name of the film less than 5 seconds into the trailer. What matters is the tease (in this case, 1:55 worth) before the absolute payoff of seeing “Toy Story 3” on the screen.

“The Big Tease” = setup setup setup…reveal.

Now compare that theory of “The Big Tease” to your advertising. Does the first sentence say the name of your business? It shouldn’t.

Here’s where the sequence of events in a commercial become critical. In short, first identify the problem. Then provide the solution.

In the meantime, review your advertising. All of it. Having your name in the first half (minimum) of your ads is revealing too much too soon.

And if you noticed, I didn’t mention “Toy Story” until roughly 3/4 of the way through this post. 🙂

Coming Thursday: Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” suffers from the same problem most commercials do…

About timburtmedia

30,000+ ads globally. Commercial Advertising Marketing - world-wide audio producer, voice-over talent, copywriter.
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1 Response to How To Apply The “Movie Trailer” Formula For Effective Commercial Advertising

  1. Excellent article and perspective! This is how we serve video ads, lifestyle videos and movie trailers on, billboard and run of network. It really works! If a viewer is interested and intrigued, they generally watch to the end. therefore viewer engagment is much higher. What we offer is more bespoke and actually very simple, like TV.

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