Unless you've been living in a football void, everyone knows that Superbowl Sunday just passed. (I'll admit – I live in that void.) While most people tune in to watch the game, many also tune in for the Superbowl Sunday commercials. The Superbowl is the one event where people actually WANT to see the commercials, and the pressure surrounding the hype is almost as tremendous as the pressure on the two opposing teams playing a game on the field. A few of the ads were leaked in advance to YouTube and other video social media sites, in part because the advertisers want to elicit excitement, and in part because it's hard to keep anything secret with video uploading so easy nowadays. My favorite, was the little boy in the Volkswagen ad trying to channel his inner Darth Vadar who attempts to make things move by using only mind skills learned from The Force. This ad has no special tricks, nor any whooshing fonts or over-the-top editing; what makes it work is everyone can identify with the imagination of a 6-year-old hoping to make the magic and do the tricks that he sees in the movies. But the hype is more than just "is it an entertaining ad". Anyone who has worked in commercial advertising can tell you that if the ad doesn't keep your audience interested in the product, it wasn't worth the money spent to design it, create it, market it and pay for its commercial timeslot. Case in point, I can never remember what the roller-skating babies ad is selling – oh yeah, "Youth" in a bottle by the Evian water company. If one plans to produce commercials, (not counting Superbowl Sunday advertising, which is a completely different animal!) there's a lot to consider besides content and length. A lot can be said in that 29-seconds, (planning for one-second for fade up or mechanical glitch upon execution.) Storytelling for commercials must be tight, and you have to grab the viewers at that first 2-3 seconds, otherwise they will either grab the remote to see what else is on, or head to the kitchen, bathroom or other room for a quick break from TV. Videomaker has done several stories on marketing your business, shooting commercials, and making business plans; you can find some business related features in our "How To" site in the "business" section on our website to help you plan an effective ad strategy. An effective advertising plan is almost more important than the ad itself. One thing too many start-up companies do is place all their advertising eggs in one basket – one BIG basket – that is, the Superbowl – and they tend to tap themselves out, hoping for the Big Win: customers clamoring for their products. But it takes more than landing a multi-million dollar spot on Superbowl Sunday to produce a good commercial, and it takes more than being seen on that spot to get customers and investors interested in your product. It's knowing your product well and targeting your audience – and also knowing how to budget money between product development, marketing, and overhead. Too many start-up dot-com companies that launched mega-commercials during one year's Superbowl have been dusting empty buildings for cobwebs when the next Superbowl comes around. (Remember's talking puppet?) If you aspire to be a video advertising producer, also check out our "Making a Profit" and "Commercial Video" forums pages. Many of our forums regulars and moderators successfully produce commercials and have great advice for those dipping their feet into this fast-paced business. Good luck – maybe next year we'll see your video that you lovingly produced for a new client in a multi-million spot. And I must add as a Post Script: Here in Videomaker's hometown of Chico California, many viewers not only tuned in for the game and the commercials, they were also rooting on our local home-grown quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.

Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.