How much does it cost to produce an advertisement spot?

Technology changes the commercials production market. In theory, it is possible to make a good quality spot with a mobile phone. However, where the visual effect is of importance, the costs are somewhat higher. Today, we will explain the components in a budget estimate. We will answer the questions of what is included in the price of the commercial and which factors influence the effect.

Let’s start by choosing the scale you are interested in. A minimum budget for a professional TV spot in broadcasting quality (for national TV channels) amounts to several thousand PLN, although commercials with six-digit budgets are not uncommon. Let’s say that you have a budget of around PLN 80,000 (ca. 19k EUR*).

The very first items that you will see in an estimate are pre-production costs. This stage includes getting to know the project and planning the photo shoot. If you have a brief prepared for the agency, you will not need an audit or competition research, but sometimes it is worthwhile to commission it as an additional analysis. On its basis, the agency’s creative team works on the creation. A spot script is created, which is presented by a graphic designer as a storyboard; it also includes copywriting and developing an idea, which constitute a broad concept of the ‘creation,’ and cost, let’s say, PLN 10,000 (ca. 2400 EUR*). About 50 hours of team work in cooperation with the director and producer results in a commercial spot cost estimate. This is the starting point for conversation with the client, time to present the idea and discuss it, but it is also the last call for changes or a return to square one.

The following items are actually the prelude of production. That is where you can find the ‘how?’ and ‘with who?’ which includes remuneration for the team and equipment selected for the photo shoot or computer animation. The price range may start to vary, depending on the type of material to be produced and the specialists who will be part of the team.

The remuneration of the producer and director amounts to a total of about 10% of the production budget. At OMI, they are present at every stage of the project. Together with the operator and the set manager, they create a decision core, which further manages the work of assistants – camera, production, equipment technicians and operators, as well as a team of lighting technicians. The set also includes a set designer, a costume designer and a make-up artist. In total, remuneration of such a team during one shooting session may amount to PLN 15,000 (ca. 3600 EUR*).

We should plan about 1-5% of the budget for additional expenses, such as catering, accommodation, transport or even Toi-Toi or security on the plan, if necessary. The choice of hardware is dictated by the effect we want to achieve. It is also a result of such factors as location conditions, type and dynamics of shots and the amount of light on the plan. The cost of renting a camera set with lenses in the amount of, let’s say, PLN 1,500 (ca. 400 EUR*) starts the ‘Equipment’ table. It will probably include a crane, slider, trolley, tripod and additional elements that stabilise the camera movement. Film lighting requires more power, so it is useful to use an aggregate, and – for specific effects – a smoke generator, sound recording equipment or a drone. Summing up the costs, with a dozen or so items, we will spend about PLN 6,000 (ca. 1500 EUR*) to rent the equipment.

During shooting, we already have post-production in mind. Its stages include the whole editing, colouring, effects and sound effects, and the final effect depends in various degrees on the experience of the team members as well as the director’s vision. Although this is an artistic process, we can easily predict its elements and divide them into hours of specialists’ work. If we take into account subtitles, sounds, background music and several animated boards or elements in 3D, we should assume it will cost around PLN 16,000 (ca. 3900 EUR*). Remember that the final touches are what determine the nature of an advertisement and can determine whether it will fulfil its purpose and have the intended effect.

The last items specify additional components, such as the price of musical work, voice-over recording and resources from stock libraries. Licences, fees for image rights and the distribution channels of our commercial directly affect each other and can be modified at any time. As a matter of principle, we help our customers identify them and take care of their purchase.

Their price is, however, the most variable element, so for example: with a few actors in a TV spot with image rights for one year, it is about 10% of the budget.

So where to look for cost optimisation? Real savings are made at the stage of creation (you will read about it in the Commercial spot – the price of savings). By combining the competence of a creative agency and a production house, we create ideas tailored to your budget as it is the very idea that can give you the most. It will be decisive for the most important expenses – logistics, team, photo shoot days, necessary equipment or special effects. It must not only be within a budget and stand out in the media, but also have an influence on its viewer. After all, advertising serves mainly this purpose.

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