A great activity for everyone

Commercial Battle

Get Ready for the Ultimate Commercial Showdown!

Commercial Battle
By Jon Zajac

What is Commercial Battle?

The Commercial Battle icebreaker is an engaging and interactive activity that encourages creativity, teamwork, and presentation skills in participants. Its primary objective is for teams to develop and present an advertising campaign for a product or service, focusing on creating a unique selling proposition (USP), identifying the target market, and delivering persuasive presentations. This activity is particularly useful in corporate workshops, team-building retreats, university business courses, and marketing seminars where innovation, marketing, and advertising strategies can be fostered.

As a facilitator, I introduce the objectives, rules, and judging criteria for the commercials, followed by team formation and product or service allocation. Each team then collaborates to brainstorm ideas, identify their USP, understand their target audience, and prepare the format and script of their commercial within a set timeframe.

The commercial presentations are judged based on creativity and originality, persuasiveness, understanding of the target market, entertainment value, and overall impact. A debriefing session follows where feedback is provided constructively to highlight each team’s strengths and areas for improvement. The activity concludes with a reflection on lessons learned related to creativity, teamwork, marketing strategies, and effective advertising.

In essence, Commercial Battle offers participants an immersive, hands-on experience that mirrors real-world marketing challenges while honing their creative thinking, strategic planning, and communication skills in a fun and competitive environment.

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Rules for Commercial Battle

  1. Participants must be divided into small teams of 4 to 6 members each.
  2. Teams are to create and present an advertising campaign for their assigned product or service.
  3. The campaign must include a unique selling proposition (USP), target market identification, creative ad development, and persuasive presentation skills.
  4. All team discussions and planning must take place during the designated preparation time.
  5. Each team will have 3-5 minutes to present their commercial.
  6. Presentations can be live performances, Powerpoint presentations, or mock-up video ads.
  7. Commercials are judged based on creativity and originality, persuasiveness, understanding of target market, entertainment value, and overall impact and presentation skills.
  8. Constructive feedback will be given during the debriefing session by judges.
  9. Teams must stay within the allocated preparation time.
  10. All participants should respect each other’s ideas and contributions during team discussions.
  11. Plagiarism or copying from other teams is not allowed.
  12. The use of inappropriate language or content in presentations is prohibited.
  13. Electronic devices should only be used for research and presentation development if permitted by the facilitator.
  14. Have fun and learn from the experience!

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Materials needed for Commercial Battle

  • A variety of odd or common objects: These will serve as the products or services to be advertised in the teams’ commercials.
  • Flip-charts: Each team can use flip-charts to brainstorm ideas, map out their unique selling proposition (USP), identify their target market, and create a storyboard for their commercial.
  • Markers: Using markers, participants can write and draw on the flip-charts during the brainstorming and planning process.
  • Paper: Providing paper for each team will allow them to take notes, sketch out ideas, and draft scripts for their commercials.
  • Digital devices (optional): Access to digital devices such as laptops or tablets can be beneficial for teams when conducting research, creating visual aids, or developing mock-up video ads if resources allow.

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Setting up for Commercial Battle

To set up for the Commercial Battle icebreaker activity, follow this step-by-step guide focusing solely on the setup aspects:

  1. Identify and Secure a Suitable Location: Look for a spacious area that can accommodate multiple teams sitting together for discussions and planning, with a central space for presentations. This could be an auditorium, conference room, or a large classroom. Make sure to reserve or book the location in advance.

  2. Arrange Furniture and Equipment: Set up tables and chairs in clusters around the room to facilitate team discussions. Leave a clear area in the center of the room for commercial presentations. Ensure that there is enough space between each team’s workspace to maintain focus and minimize distractions. If possible, provide a flipchart or whiteboard along with markers for each team.

  3. Prepare the Central Presentation Area: Set up a stage, podium, or designated presentation area at the front of the room. This will be used by teams to present their commercials and should be visible and audible to all participants. Test any necessary audio-visual equipment beforehand, including microphones, projectors, and screens.

  4. Plan for Judges’ Seating: Arrange seating for judges or facilitators in a way that allows them to observe each team’s performance easily. This could be at the side of the room, facing the presentations, or elevated with good visibility.

  5. Organize Necessary Stationery and Supplies: Gather enough paper, pens, sticky notes, and other stationery items for all participants. Place these materials in designated areas near each team’s workspace for easy access during the activity.

  6. Prepare Icebreaker Questions or Activities: Develop a list of icebreaker questions to help participants get to know one another at the beginning of the session. These can be printed out and placed in envelopes or folders for each team, or displayed on slides using a projector.

  7. Plan for Evaluation and Feedback: Determine who will provide feedback during the debriefing session and what criteria they will use to evaluate the commercials. Notify them of their role in advance and prepare any necessary materials, such as scoring sheets or evaluation forms.

By carefully setting up the location, arranging furniture, testing equipment, and preparing supplies, you create an optimal environment for the Commercial Battle icebreaker activity to run smoothly and successfully.

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How to play Commercial Battle

  1. Divide participants into teams: Form small groups of 4 to 6 members to encourage diversity in ideas.
    • Participants brainstorm and collaborate in manageable groups, promoting active engagement.
  2. Provide random products or services: Assign each team a product or service for their commercial.
    • This fosters creativity as teams must adapt their marketing strategy to various items.
  3. Allow preparation time: Give teams 45-60 minutes to develop their commercial.
    • Teams use this time to brainstorm, identify the unique selling proposition (USP), determine the target audience, and create a format/script for their presentation.
  4. Encourage creativity and originality: Prompt teams to think outside the box when creating their commercials.
    • This encourages innovative ideas and helps participants understand how to differentiate products in the marketplace.
  5. Require clear USP and target market identification: Ensure that each team’s commercial effectively communicates its unique selling proposition and identifies the target market.
    • Teams practice developing persuasive messaging and understanding their audience, essential skills for successful marketing campaigns.
  6. Host a presentation session: Have teams present their commercials in front of all participants.
    • Presentations can be live performances, PowerPoint presentations, or mock-up video ads.
  7. Establish evaluation criteria: Judge commercials based on creativity, persuasiveness, understanding of the target market, entertainment value, and overall impact/presentation skills.
    • This helps participants understand what makes a successful marketing campaign and how to evaluate their own work and others’ effectively.
  8. Facilitate debriefing: Conduct a constructive feedback session after presentations.
    • Discuss strengths of each team’s commercial as well as areas for improvement, emphasizing creativity, teamwork, marketing strategies, and effective advertising techniques.
  9. Consider awards or recognition: Optionally, provide prizes or recognition to the team with the best commercial according to judges.
    • This fosters competitiveness and engagement among participants while acknowledging their efforts and achievements.

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Benefits of Commercial Battle

  • Fosters Creativity: By challenging participants to create an advertising campaign for a randomly assigned product or service, Commercial Battle pushes individuals out of their comfort zones and encourages them to think outside the box. This activity can lead to innovative ideas that might not have surfaced in traditional brainstorming sessions.

  • Promotes Teamwork: In order to develop a compelling advertising campaign, team members must collaborate effectively, leveraging each other’s strengths and compensating for individual weaknesses. Through this process, participants learn the importance of open communication, active listening, and mutual support in achieving shared goals.

  • Enhances Presentation Skills: Presenting a commercial to an audience requires confidence, charisma, and strong public speaking abilities. Commercial Battle offers a low-stakes environment for participants to hone these skills, providing valuable practice that can be applied in professional and personal settings.

  • Develops Marketing Strategy Insight: By forcing teams to identify a unique selling proposition (USP) and target market, Commercial Battle helps participants understand the key elements of successful marketing strategies. This knowledge is crucial for individuals working in business, advertising, or related fields.

  • Encourages Adaptability: With limited preparation time and resources, teams must quickly adjust their plans and strategies to overcome unforeseen challenges. This adaptability is a vital skill in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

  • Boosts Morale and Engagement: The competitive nature of Commercial Battle, along with the potential for recognition or prizes, can increase motivation and morale among participants. This boost in energy can lead to improved collaboration, productivity, and job satisfaction within teams.

  • Provides a Fun and Memorable Experience: Last but not least, Commercial Battle offers a fun and enjoyable experience that allows participants to bond with colleagues while developing valuable skills. The positive memories created during this activity can strengthen relationships and create a more cohesive team environment.

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Skills built with Commercial Battle

  • Creativity: Commercial Battle encourages participants to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas for advertising a product or service. By engaging in this activity, I enhance my ability to approach problems from unique perspectives and generate original solutions.
  • Teamwork: In Commercial Battle, team members collaborate on brainstorming, scriptwriting, and presentation development. This experience helps me improve my capacity to work effectively with others towards a common goal, respect diverse viewpoints, and leverage collective strengths for optimal results.
  • Presentation Skills: Presenting a commercial in front of an audience requires confidence, clarity, and charisma. Through Commercial Battle, I practice refining my public speaking abilities, engaging with the audience, and delivering compelling messages that resonate with potential customers.
  • Market Research and Analysis: To create an effective advertising campaign, it’s crucial to understand one’s target market and competitors. Engaging in Commercial Battle allows me to hone my skills in conducting market research, analyzing consumer behavior, and identifying key differentiators that give a product or service a competitive edge.
  • Strategic Thinking: Developing a successful advertising campaign involves making strategic decisions based on the unique selling proposition (USP), target audience, and desired impact of the commercial. Commercial Battle challenges me to think strategically about these factors, enabling me to make informed choices that positively influence marketing outcomes.
  • Brand Storytelling: Crafting a compelling narrative around a product or service is essential for capturing customers’ attention and fostering loyalty. Through Commercial Battle, I learn how to weave narratives into my advertising campaigns, making them more engaging, memorable, and emotionally resonant with my target audience.
  • Adaptability: Often, teams must adjust their strategies and ideas on the fly during Commercial Battle due to unforeseen challenges or constraints. This experience strengthens my ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and maintain a flexible mindset in the face of adversity, which is valuable in both personal and professional settings.
  • Critical Thinking: Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of competing commercials is an integral part of Commercial Battle. By critically analyzing other teams’ presentations, I develop my ability to discern what works and what doesn’t in advertising campaigns, allowing me to apply these insights to my own efforts.
  • Project Management: Creating a successful commercial within a set time frame requires effective project management skills, such as setting clear goals, allocating tasks efficiently, and monitoring progress. Commercial Battle offers practical experience in managing projects under pressure, helping me become more organized, focused, and proactive.

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Why I like Commercial Battle

As someone who enjoys both creativity and strategic thinking, I find the Commercial Battle icebreaker to be a highly engaging and valuable activity. There are several reasons why this particular exercise stands out for me.

Firstly, I appreciate the opportunity it provides for participants to showcase their creative skills. By having teams develop advertising campaigns for random objects or services, the Commercial Battle encourages out-of-the-box thinking and original ideas. This fosters a fun and dynamic environment where people can truly express their imagination and ingenuity.

Secondly, I value the focus on marketing and advertising strategies. In today’s business world, understanding how to effectively market a product or service is crucial for success. The Commercial Battle offers hands-on experience in creating unique selling propositions, identifying target markets, and developing persuasive presentations – all essential components of effective advertising.

Thirdly, I believe that teamwork is an essential skill in both personal and professional settings. The Commercial Battle encourages collaboration by dividing participants into small teams, allowing them to work together towards a common goal. This aspect of the activity helps build trust, improve communication, and enhance problem-solving abilities among team members.

Furthermore, I enjoy the competitive nature of the Commercial Battle. The challenge of creating the best commercial encourages participants to strive for excellence and push their boundaries. Adding a prize or recognition for the winning team adds an extra layer of excitement and motivation, making the experience even more enjoyable and rewarding.

Lastly, I appreciate the debriefing session at the end of the Commercial Battle. Providing constructive feedback allows participants to reflect on their performance, learn from their mistakes, and identify areas for improvement. This reflection is vital for continuous learning and growth, ensuring that participants not only enjoy the activity but also gain valuable insights from it.

In conclusion, I find the Commercial Battle icebreaker to be a well-designed and engaging activity that promotes creativity, teamwork, marketing strategies, and effective communication. Its unique blend of fun, learning, and competition makes it an invaluable tool for corporate workshops, team-building retreats, university business courses, and marketing seminars.

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Tips for making Commercial Battle more inclusive

  • Tip: Use gender-neutral language in the activity introduction, judging criteria, and feedback to create an inclusive environment for all participants.
  • Tip: Encourage teams to consider diverse audiences when brainstorming USPs and target markets, ensuring their campaigns are inclusive and relatable to a broad range of people.
  • Tip: Provide optional accessibility guidelines for creating visuals, scripts, and presentations, allowing teams to make their commercials accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.
  • Tip: Offer participants the choice to work in same-ability or mixed-ability groups during team formation, promoting a more inclusive learning experience for all.
  • Tip: Consider providing an option for teams to present their commercials in different languages or include multilingual elements, celebrating linguistic diversity and fostering inclusivity.
  • Tip: Encourage active listening and respectful communication during debriefing sessions by setting ground rules and reminding participants about the importance of understanding and valuing each other’s perspectives.
  • Tip: Offer resources or provide training on inclusive marketing strategies, raising awareness among participants about the benefits of diverse representation in advertising campaigns.
  • Tip: Provide an anonymous feedback channel for participants to share their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding the Commercial Battle activity, ensuring all voices are heard and valued.
  • Tip: Be mindful of cultural sensitivities when selecting or assigning products or services and encourage teams to be respectful in their portrayal and messaging during commercial development.
  • Tip: Consider offering prizes that cater to diverse interests and preferences, celebrating various aspects of creativity, teamwork, marketing strategies, and advertising.

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Reflection questions for Commercial Battle

  1. What specific aspects of your team’s creative process contributed to the success of your commercial? Understanding which parts of the brainstorming and development process were most effective can help you replicate successful strategies in future projects.

  2. How did your group handle disagreements or differing opinions during the creation of your commercial? Examining how your team navigated conflicts provides insight into your communication skills and ability to work collaboratively towards a common goal.

  3. In what ways did you adapt your initial ideas to better fit the product or service assigned to your team? Adaptability is key in both team settings and real-world marketing scenarios, so it’s essential to recognize how you adjusted your strategy to suit changing circumstances.

  4. What strategies did you use to make your unique selling proposition (USP) clear and persuasive? Analyzing the methods you employed to convey your USP can inform future efforts to market products or services, as clarity and persuasion are crucial in advertising.

  5. How did your team ensure that your commercial would appeal to your identified target market? Recognizing how you tailored your ad to suit a specific audience will help you better understand the importance of identifying and catering to target demographics in marketing campaigns.

  6. What elements of your commercial contributed most to its entertainment value? Why do you think this is? Understanding what made your ad entertaining can shed light on consumer preferences and how to create engaging content that captures and maintains attention.

  7. How confident were you in presenting your commercial to the group? What areas do you feel you could improve upon for future presentations? Public speaking is an essential skill in business settings, so evaluating your presentation skills can help identify areas for growth and improvement.

  8. What did you learn about marketing and advertising strategies throughout this activity? How might you apply these lessons to real-world situations? Reflecting on the broader takeaways from Commercial Battle will enable you to better understand marketing principles and how they can be applied in various contexts.

  9. How did your team’s dynamic change over the course of the activity, and what impact did this have on the final product? Examining shifts in team dynamics can help you recognize the importance of collaboration and communication in group projects.

  10. What strategies would you employ if you were to participate in a similar activity in the future? Why? Considering how you might approach a similar challenge demonstrates your ability to learn from experiences, apply newfound knowledge, and grow as a professional.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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