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Making an affordable TV ad

Posted on: July 3, 2023

One of the most common misconceptions about TV is that producing a TV ad is expensive, but this need not be the case. A great and effective TV ad is possible to make, even on a smaller budget. Here are some tips and ideas that should help you make the most of your budget and get you on your way.

Come up with a great idea

The better the idea, the more money it will save you. If a creative idea is very strong, it is often simpler and less costly to bring to life than its inferior counterpart. Creative agencies will lavish attention on it, the best directors will want to direct it and production companies will invest in it because they will want to use it as a showcase. Finally, TV viewers will enjoy it, talk about it and pass it on to friends and family, so you will get far more value out of your media spend. Time and effort expended on coming up with a simple, fresh, engaging, well-branded idea will never be wasted. The IPA have proved the link between creativity and effectiveness: so whatever you do, make the best ad you can.

Plan ahead

It is hugely important to plan all areas of the TV production as far in advance as possible and put some thought into what exactly the requirements are. Whilst the turnaround of producing an advert is much quicker nowadays due to technological advances, allowing as much time as possible will help produce the best piece of creative often at a lower cost, having had the time to investigate the most cost-effective routes.

Have at least three quotes or go direct

Seeking three quotes as a matter of course is generally good practise and by briefing three separate production companies you are likely to get a slightly different approach for the idea, putting you in a more informed position about what suits you best. But advertisers can also consider going directly to TV companies, who in many cases design and produce adverts and sponsorship credits at competitive rates. For more information on this, go to:

Use a “young gun” director

Sometimes you can achieve a significant saving by using a relatively inexperienced director attached to a big production company.  If the production company is keen to get some advertising on the director’s reel, they may be able to offer a very competitive rate. You, meanwhile, will get the benefit and reassurance of working with a big, experienced company.

Re-use content

Another option is to consider re-using or adapting content the advertiser may already own or making use of library footage in a creative way. Generally, advertisers and agencies get bored of a creative long before the ads achieve wear out with the viewer, so this could be the most cost effective approach. Alternatively, you can consider using animation. Depending on the style of animation, significant savings can be made compared to the same scenario created with live action. Library footage used in a creative way will also reduce your production costs.

Finally, in terms of creative, it’s important to remember that:

  • Cheapest does not necessarily mean best value.
  • Although a good idea can often be brought to life in a very cost-effective way, no amount of money lavished on a poor idea will transform it into a brilliant TV ad.

For more creative insight and inspiration please click here.

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