Production of advertisement spots. Costs to keep in mind and exemplary budget

One of the most popular questions that we have heard from our customers are ‘how much is a commercial spot?’ and ‘why is it so expensive?’ Right, because why should you pay 50, 100 or 200 thousand (ca. 10k – 50k EUR*) for something so intangible like a commercial spot that lasts a minute?

We will show you the rules that govern the world of production budgets.

The factors causing high costs do not exist in the perception of the person starting the adventure with video marketing. They seem obvious to us as a production house. Naturally, it is hard to grasp the complexity of the production process being presented only with a quote for a fixed amount, which is why we follow the principle of full transparency when creating an offer. That is why we create a detailed cost estimate for each of them. Although such a form is quite complex, it perfectly illustrates how many little elements are involved in making a spot and how many people are involved in the process.

Let’s start with the pre-production stage. It includes all activities that build up to the concept of a commercial spot. While preparing a scenario and creating storyboards seems fair and square, the ‘competition research,’ for example, may seem questionable at first glance, although there is a very simple explanation.

You don’t want to accidentally make a spot very similar to your competition – which is not difficult in the reality of commercials. After all, competing products often have similar properties and their producers share similar values. For example, washing powder for whites should perfectly remove even the most difficult stains and guarantee excellent whiteness; at the same time, the producer would like to show emotions in the commercial. So, how can we not make an advertisement with a mum washing dirty shorts of her son, a little footballer?

Recognizing the subject and strategy of competition is a basic tactical move. Therefore, you should take it into account in your advertising expenses. This was not done by the agency handling Phillips brand, because they published a spot almost identical to our “Catch the Santa with smart home solutions!”.

When after a couple of weeks of creative work and production planning (also read behind the scenes of a commercial spot) there is a photo shoot, everything must be prepared perfectly. There is no way that there will be a shortage of people to work with or no toilets on the set – apparent savings just love to get their revenge on efficiency. Even the slightest detail must be planned and all possible threats – anticipated. The situation from the shoot that happened to us: in one of the shots the main role belonged to… an automatic external blind, which turned out to be a very moody actor. After 10 shots of raising and lowering it, the blind stopped working. We would not be able to continue shooting if it were not for an efficient electrician present on the set who removed the fault in no time.

After exhaustive work on the set, it is time for post-production, i.e. complex post-processing of the recorded material, which was saved on two independent media on the set, as well as saved in the cloud as a backup. Why? Losing the only drive with files or a misplaced memory card would have catastrophic consequences.

At each important stage of post-production, there is a director who ensures artistic consistency of the film with the original vision as well as a supervisor who ensures that the quality of the processed material is at the highest possible level. Depending on the scale of the advertisement, it is worth considering hiring additional specialists for post-production. If you want your viewer to be drawn in front of the TV while frying pancakes, it is worth investing in a composer. Such a specialist will compose music that is unique and perfect for the image. If you advertise amazing image quality or sell holiday experiences, think about a colourist as well. The artist will saturate the image and balance visual stimuli, so the viewer can feel it even more intensely.

We can also consider hiring well-known and liked stars, their voices and specialists who will seduce the viewer with words, choreography or fantastically constructed set design. The choice of resources depends on the idea for a product and it is the role of the agency to select them accordingly. This is how the ads that go down in history are made. The best ones start with the question of ‘what?’ and ‘how?’, and only then comes the ‘how much?’ But let’s be honest, only the market giants can afford this order. In the real world, the bespoke method is the way to go, which in short means matching the commercial to the budget.

You can read about this in the article: How much does a commercial spot cost?

*Approximate EUR prices based on average exchange rate of National Bank of Poland on 12.12.2017.