Advertisement spot – the price of savings

Is it worth saving on advertising commercial spot? Usually not, but sometimes you have to. The cost of a typical 30-second TV quality spot is at least a few dozens of thousands PLN. It is no surprise that our customers often ask whether this amount can be reduced. In this article, we will tell you how to make sure that savings do not ruin the final result because the costs of a failed spot are much higher than its production cost.  

The biggest losses are generated by savings that are only apparent. This is a motto that every marketer should put above the desk. The production of advertising spots provides a lot of temptations for ill-considered cuts. Meanwhile, it is precisely the investment in pre-production stage of a project that allows to avoid painful costs further on. We will try to explain how this works in practice. We talk about the production backstage, which rarely affects the marketer directly. But it is the production details that determine the final price of your spot.

People. The more experience they have, the more they value themselves. Let us use the example of lighting technicians. On the Wrocław market’s conditions, the rate of an experienced lighting technician is about PLN 1000 (ca. 250 EUR*) per day. At this price, we have not only got a lighting operator, but also a real promise of efficient work.

When a cheaper ‘random’ team does not understand each other too well, it generates a waste of time. After 11 hours, they start to bill overtime, where the price of each subsequent hour is a multiple of the previous one. It is all the more painful because the whole team is waiting for the lamps to be set up, and their time is also running out. As a result, savings of about PLN 1000 (ca. 250 EUR*) are turned into several thousand of additional costs. In the best case scenario, such production will be wrapped in a single shooting day. It is worse if shooting is extended by another day.

On the set, it is worth relying on an experienced team. When everyone works like clockwork, you may finish the photo shoot with some time to spare or shoot some alternative shots.

Equipment. Each decision about equipment starts an entire chain of consequences. The ideal model is based on artistic assumptions. In practice, it is often another area of risky savings. Cheaper camera and lenses (Sony FS7 ~ PLN 400 per day) means reduced cost of accessories, but more challenges at the post-production stage to achieve that cinematic effect. To compare, a good quality camera (RED Dragon ~ PLN 3000 (ca. 800 EUR*) per day, including accessories and camera assistant) apart from a certain image quality gives you the comfort of work and great possibilities in post-processing of the material. The final cost may therefore be the same.

In a similar way, worse sound recording means more hours of processing, re-recording and expensive studio work. Sometimes, it is worth investing in a sound specialist present on the set.

We always choose the best possible equipment for your budget. It gives more possibilities for post-production and guarantees high image quality.

Licences and copyrights. Although they normally cover a period of 1 year, they can take up to 20% of the budget. This ratio will be different for spots with celebrities and advertisements based solely on work performed by extras. It will also change if we use a known song or add new fields of distribution. That is why in our estimates we choose the optimal solution tailored to the client’s budget. We do not suggest using Clooney as a supporting actor if the budget cannot handle it.

Other costs. The success of production can be determined by small things. Every film-maker knows that a decent meal will give the team more energy for work than a cold pizza. Savings on catering are minimal, but can effectively ruin the atmosphere. Insurance also generates some costs, but – yet again – they are barely a fraction of the sums spent, but guarantee financial security in case of any unforeseen events: equipment damage, accidents or even a production failure.

Even these simplified examples should be enough to understand where the problem of budget cuts lies. An amount as small as one zloty saved in one place can easily turn into several more spent in another. We are not trying to say that there is no room for savings in the spot production process. Of course there is. But you need to know what’s what in order to consciously estimate it. At OMI, we always explain the details of the budget to customers before we start the right preparations (see Cost estimate of a commercial spot (in PLN)). And if the project cannot be closed on a budget, we advise you on how to wisely modify the scenario or where to safely cut costs. Pre-production is the safest time to look for savings.

Summing it up, time and efficiency are of paramount importance on set. Apparent savings that affect one of these factors can easily have the opposite effect and increase the overall cost. We follow the motto of A’Tomek: “Good organisation of work leads to increased production effects.” We give you our word – it really pays off!

*All prices in EUR are just approximate numbers based on average exchange rate of National Bank of Poland on 12.12.2017.