To contact the biggest advertising firms, and the ones with the most dollars, you would definitely need to know somebody on the inside. Approaching the front desk secretary won’t get you very far. You should network at big conventions and conferences and make personal connections to these people as a composer. And remember to follow up and keep in contact with them! There might suddenly be one day when you get a call from someone you met a year ago. These relationships are important!
Also, going all on your own is a great way to keep the royalty payments and the licensing fees to yourself. But you’ll soon find that you’re spending 90% of your time connecting and networking and not actually composing!
The easiest way to get your songs placed (well, not really easiest. But easier…) is to hook up with a music publisher. It’s a publisher’s job to contact music supervisors in film, TV advertising producers, and other decision makers and try to get your songs placed.
But getting paid as an unknown composer without much “pull” is quite challenging. TV commercials 30 seconds or less don’t pay royalties. So all you’re dealing with is the initial licensing fee from the advertiser. And since you’re an unknown entity (ie: not famous) you’ll be lucky to get a few hundred dollars for the placement. If you really want to make some good money with your music then start composing for TV and film. Having an instrumental song placed in a TV show can be a big windfall. But…having a vocal song placed in a TV show is huge!
Having your song become the main theme tune for a TV show can put your kids through college without having to work another day! So start sending your demos to music publishers. I have a few publishers working in North America and it’s a really great relationship to have!