How much does a TV advert cost?
Television advertising remains an incredible tool for businesses looking to capture the attention of a wide audience and drive brand awareness. However, behind every compelling TV commercial lies a complex process involving creative talent, technical expertise, and of course, a budget. Here, we’ll explore the various factors that contribute to the cost of producing a TV ad and provide insights into what businesses can expect when investing in this form of marketing.
- Concept Development: The first step in producing a TV advert is developing a concept that effectively communicates the brand’s message and resonates with the target audience. Spending time understanding the target audience and what is going to capture their attention is essential at this stage. This often involves collaboration between the client and creative agency to brainstorm ideas, storyboard the concept, and refine the script. The cost of concept development can vary depending on the complexity of the idea and the level of creative input required. Often we work with our clients on a scoping stage to define a few creative options before moving into full pre-production.
- Pre-Production: Once the concept is finalised, the pre-production phase begins, which includes tasks such as casting actors, scouting locations, and hiring crew members. This stage also involves creating detailed shot lists, scheduling production days, and coordinating logistics to ensure a smooth filming process. This stage also includes getting the TV advert script approved for broadcast, we have to check that all claims in the script are substantiated before filming. Pre-production is arguably the most important part of the process and will take up to 30% of the total budget.
- Production: The production phase involves bringing the concept to life through filming and capturing the necessary footage for the commercial. The cost of production can vary based on factors such as the length of the shoot, the number of locations, and the complexity of the scenes. Liquona will work with you and handle all the production, all you have to do is turn up.
- Post-Production: Once filming is complete, the footage is handed over to our talented post-production team for editing, sound design, visual effects, and colour grading. This stage also involves adding music, voiceovers, and graphics to enhance the final product. Post-production costs can be significant, particularly for commercials that require extensive editing or specialised visual effects work.
- Talent Fees and Contracts: If the commercial features actors, celebrities, or influencers, businesses must budget for talent fees, royalties, and contract negotiations. The cost of hiring talent can vary widely depending on factors such as their level of fame, experience, and demand in the industry.
- Distribution and Marketing: The cost of running an ad on TV can vary widely and is influenced by a range of factors. Historically, TV ads were broadcast to everyone watching a particular channel at a particular time within a geographic area. That area might have been a local TV region or across the whole of the UK. Generally, the more people being reached in a particular geography, the more expensive the campaign would be.
Nowadays you can be much more targeted with your TV commercials, and consequently much more cost-effective. Liquona works with Sky AdSmart which enables targeting down to the household level for a whole host of demographic, geographic and behavioural characteristics to make sure you’re only paying for your message to get in front of people who it’s most relevant for.
The timing of the ad also plays a crucial role in determining cost. Ads aired during prime time, typically between 8 PM and 11 PM on weekdays, command the highest prices due to increased viewership. However, the cost can drop substantially for slots during daytime or late-night hours. Additionally, advertising during special events like the Super Bowl or major award shows can see prices soar into the millions for just a 30-second spot, again due to the high viewership numbers these events attract.
The length of the ad further impacts the cost, with 15-second ads being cheaper than 30-second ones, and 60-second spots being the most expensive.
Liquona have worked closely with AdSmart from Sky for several years now, reaching millions of households and delivering highly effective campaigns for their clients. They have access to all of Sky’s tools so can deliver insight, planning and buying services for clients.
Producing a TV advert involves a myriad of costs, from concept development and pre-production to filming, post-production, and distribution. TV adverts like the John Lewis Christmas ad can cost millions of pounds, but that doesn’t mean all adverts have to cost this. A healthy budget for an ambitious UK brand would be about £50,000 + VAT. TV adverts can be produced with as little as £10,000 but the creative can be limited based on the reasons outlined.
While the cost can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the concept, the length of the commercial, and the level of talent involved, businesses can expect to invest a significant amount of resources to create a compelling and effective advertisement. By understanding the various factors that contribute to the cost of producing a TV advert, businesses can better plan and budget for their marketing initiatives and maximise the return on their investment in television advertising.
Find out more about why you should be advertising on TV here
Or have a look at our TV advertising portfolio here