Standing on the Ledge Looking Down: Should You Jump?


As a little kid, do you remember climbing up the big diving board for the first time? You know, the really big one with steps that seemed to go just below the heavens, leading to that massive slab of concrete at the top which was really known as a platform diving board?

I do.

And I remember taking each step up that ladder with my size fours, my knee joints bending as my head slowly surveyed all around the diminishing landscape below as I got higher and higher. When I finally got atop the concrete runway, I'd grab the side railings and slowly walk to the edge, gripping its icy metal steel tighter and tighter, now white- knuckled, as I inched toward the edge. Then, I'd peek over the precipice only to see the cool azure blue of the water's glass-like surface what seemed like miles below.

Usually, there were a few "double dares" from friends and generally some girl I was trying to impress, watching me in disbelief from below.

If you can remember that sickening, pit-in-your-stomach, vomit-inducing feeling of looking over that platform diving board, then you probably know what it feels like to be a startup contemplating creating your first commercial.


You've tested your system and had limited success. You've garnered some earned media, your Mom has told all her friends (and a few enemies), and you've initiated your SEO, SEM, and social media marketing campaigns. You have website impressions, clicks, you've calculated click through rates, cost per clicks and conversion rates.

But, it's not enough. You need more.

You think radio, billboards, guerrilla marketing, what would get more people to your site?

A freakin' commercial.

But how?

First, you have the creative. What will the content of the commercial be? Should you come up with it on your own because no one knows your company better than you, or should you hire a creative team? Heck, no one has the money to hire a creative team. But what if no one thinks what you came up with is funny, or any good, or hits the right target market or gets your point across?

Holy crap!

Then you have to hire a production company. They usually put the entire team (production) together, shoot the commercial, and deliver it in the medium you desire.

But how do you find these production companies?

We asked friends in the industry, checked out sites on the internet, asked anyone remotely tied to the industry for recommendations. And then we checked out the production companies' websites, demo reels, reviewed their budgets, interviewed each and every one of them (between 6-8) before we came up with one with whom we formed a kinship or with whom we thought would do a solid job.

It's maddening all the decisions that need to be made. And really, what the hell do we know about creative things? We just created a financial website, not a music video.

The point is, you can only, ultimately, go by your gut. Just like when you were that little child atop the platform diving board hoping you would survive that plunge to the water below, you trust your gut knowing that many have survived the plunge before you and...

... you just go for it!

This post originally appeared on The Whole Magilla and was written by Chris Meyer, co-founder of

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