Car Commercial Treatments – I’m Not Your Back Seat Driver


Car Commercial Treatments – I’m Not Your Back Seat Driver

I truly enjoy writing TVC treatments for car commercials. It doesn’t matter if the car is luxury or not-so-luxury, treatments of this nature are just a joy to write.

Is it all the new and innovative ways there are to film cars these days? Yeah, of course. I love the idea of helping a director pitch something new for a car brand. I’ve noticed that the directors I’ve worked with in my most recent car commercial treatments have all been very (VERY) eager to step out of the box when it comes to car commercials – suggesting new and innovative ways to capture the essence of the car while still encapsulating that essence within the client’s brand.

To be fair, advertising agencies seem pretty keen helping car-brand clients explore new roads when it comes to TV commercials.

Sounds easy, right, but try getting that past the client. Car brands are fickle – as are the decision-makers behind them. They don’t always like to be stretched, and I think it’s because many brands have done the same “types” of commercials for so long that those commercial have become part of the brand’s visual lexicon.

So these new and innovative ways to capture cars on film are, unfortunately, not always well-received by clients. But that doesn’t stop directors from trying – and a good treatment can help with any friction by clearly and creatively explaining what the director has in-mind.

But that’s not the only reason why I enjoy writing car commercial treatments for directors. The other reason is that I just happen to like cars.

While others are, I’ve got my 2004 Volvo XC90 torn apart trying to diagnose a P2177 OBD code.

In case you don’t speak OBD, that means there’s a discrepancy between the amount of air coming into the car at the air filter (as measured by the mass air flow sensor) and the amount leaving the car (as measured by an oxygen sensor on the exhaust manifold).

Not a huge deal, but it caused a check engine light – so it gets investigated.

I’m a fan of horsepower, and I love learning about how things work – especially cars. Does my experience with my Volvo help me write better car commercial treatments?

Hell. Yes.

Pressing on an accelerator and making a car go fast is one thing, but to understand (roughly, I’m not an engineer) how all the electronics and moving parts work in harmony to create horsepower (while also being safe – cars have to be safe) helps me get a little deeper into understanding what makes a car so special. It also help me understand why someone would want to own a particular car, which invariably helps me write better treatments for the brand.

In my case, I’m Volvo for life, which means that, at some point, the Volvo brand got its hooks into me and, well…here I am.

And if you’re wondering, yes, that’s my 2004 Volvo XC90 2.5T in the picture…with intake manifold, fuel rail and electronic throttle module (ETM) removed to diagnose a few things. Needless to say, I didn’t write any TVC treatments that day. Turns out I needed a new mass air flow sensor.

Problem solved. Now, onto being a treatment writer. Car commercial, anyone?






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