Should You Use Employees or Professional Actors in your Commercial?

September 14, 2017 Advertising Questions

A well-made commercial can be a cost-effective way to drive business and sales for your organization. You can use a commercial to build brand awareness, drive sales, or replace lost customers. Commercials can also be an excellent way to provide an inside look into your business as well as a tool to recruit new employees. And commercials can now be multipurposed on both television and online, as it becomes more and more important to expand the web and social media presence of your business. Search engine optimization experts now include video as one of the factors in ranking well. Other studies have shown that millennials respond particularly well to video marketing.

There are many things you need to consider when making commercials, and one is the cast. Should you use your own employees as amateur actors, or call in the pros? There are advantages and drawbacks to both options: here’s what you need to bear in mind.





#1 Bringing credibility to your commercial

Featuring your company associates in their real-life roles will put a face to your brand. When they talk about your business on camera they’ll be drawing on real experiences and showing real feelings – it’s relatable in a way professional talent can’t match. That’s why more and more brands are using real customers and consumers to bring some credibility to their TV advertising.

#2 Telling a story

Businesses increasingly recognize the importance of storytelling as a means to build your brand. Where better to curate those stories than from the people who make your business work day-to-day?



#1 Compromising on quality

In most businesses, your employees won’t have professional acting or performance experience. While you may have some enthusiastic, and otherwise very confident, volunteers who are happy to sign up, they won’t be aware of the commitment it involves. Only when the cameras are rolling will you find out how comfortable they are – or are not – under the bright lights, with the pressure of performing in front of a film crew. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a talented actor among your staff, your commercial just won’t feature the same screen presence and skilled delivery you’d get with a pro.

#2 Taking more time

A related downside of working with employees is the amount of time it will take to, well, get a take. Your ‘star’ may forget their lines, get the giggles, misread the teleprompter, or just get nervous: all of which means shooting your commercial will take more time – and money. Bear this in mind before you decide to save money by avoiding professional actors.

Professional actors




#1 Choosing from a wider range of casting options

If you cast your commercial in-house, your casting choices are restricted to your employees. Hiring professional actors will give you a wider range of faces to choose from – so you can find the right image to represent your brand – and may give you more opportunity to reflect diversity in your video.

#2 Starring the best

Professional actors know what they’re doing. They’ll show up looking the part and already knowing what is expected of them; they’ll know how to follow direction; they will appear confident; and above all, they will be able to act! Working with professionals will make your commercial quicker and easier to produce, and more natural and enjoyable to watch.



#1 Missing out on expert knowledge

Professional actors may know a lot about acting, but they’re unlikely to know much about your business. If your commercial requires an actor to talk about your company, or to carry out a particular task that is specific to your industry, they won’t do so as naturally and fluently as one of your employees might. Bear in mind that there are ways around this – you can train an actor to pronounce unfamiliar technical terms, and maybe even cut to an employee’s hands if you need an up-close shot of a task being performed properly.

#2 Paying for the talent

This is perhaps the most obvious downside of hiring a professional actor to take part in your commercial – you’ll have to pay them, most likely several hundred dollars a day, on top of all the other production costs of your video, whereas if your employees star in the commercial you are of course paying them already.


As you’ll have realized, there are upsides and downsides to both approaches when shooting a commercial. The best route depends on you, your business and the commercial you hope to make. If your priority for this commercial is to tell an authentic story about your business – and/or to come in under budget – then you’re likely to decide to work with your own employees. But if you’d prefer to get a slick, professional commercial made as quickly as possible, you may pick the professional approach. Weigh up the pros and cons before you decide how to make a commercial that is right for you. Call Portland advertising agency Raven Marketing today to discuss your needs. We’ll help guide you in choosing the right type of commercial for your company.