For many years the TVC was the exclusive and singular output of a brand’s annual advertising output. While the days of the singularity of the TV Commercial might be behind us, there’s still plenty of demand for a well crafted spot that can work hard for social media as well as on the telly.
Once upon a time you could make one single film and that could do for your product launch, TVC, corporate video – and then bung it on Facebook too and forget about it. But the rapidly fragmenting world of social and broadcast video has made things a lot more complicated.
What is a TV Commercial?
A TV Commercial (also know as TVC, advert, ad, spot) is a short piece of television programming that is designed to sell a product or service. Whilst durations can vary, the most popular TVC length is 15 seconds, though 30 seconds is also very common. Occasionally advertisers choose a 60” spot, though that’s a lot of airtime to fill.
Despite the proliferation of social media, TV Commercials are still a very effective medium for brands to reach their customers. The democratisation of broadcasting has meant getting your ad on the telly isn’t just for those with deep pockets, for example using Sky’s adsmart technology, as with this TVC we made for Mazda:
This is a great example of how making a good commercial can be relatively inexpensive. The concept of the campaign was that rather than visiting a showroom to take a test drive, the potential customer could have a car delivered to them locally. This was only available in certain areas, so Sky’s adsmart was chosen for delivery because of the geo-targeting.
From a production point of view, we chose a creative route that avoided a lot of expensive live action shoots. So the environments are all stills, and the moving car is just composited into each scene. The monochrome backgrounds really help the car / brand to stand out too.
Animation and TV Commercials
Most TV Commercial production companies have a specialism, and at Hocus Pocus Studio, ours is most definitely animation. We’re very comfortable shooting live action, in fact some of our best work seems to be the hybrid of live action and composited graphics, but animation is probably the most popular of our TV ad production services.
We recently made a bright, colourful commercial for 3M for the launch of their new washing-up sponge, Scotch-Brite Fresh. This is a very different approach to the normal kitchen setup with someone standing at the sink washing up. The other challenge is the TVC had to work across diverse markets, so needed global appeal:
As a TV Commercials production house in London we recognise that animation doesn’t necessarily mean a complex CGI creative treatment as with the Scotch-Brite Fresh. 2d animation can work very well on TV as well as social media.
One of the most accessible commercials we’ve made was for Cosatto, baby stuff with personality. The creative was very colourful, driven by typography and a straightforward stills shoot. The final result was a really fun TVC done produced in a few of weeks:
How Much Does a Television Commercial Cost to Produce?
Television commercials are a very difficult to give a ballpark figure for as there are many variables that affect their final cost. As with most creative & film production, you’ll find a big range of prices and standards of videos.
We think our work is priced competitively, but we do have high standards and employ some really great talent. Our team have over a decade of working together, so we have experience of coming up with solutions for a range of budgets.
There are a few things that do influence the price of your television commercial that you might want to think about:
- Content. Do you have a story crafted in your head, or do you need us to develop the script and messaging with you?
- Approach. Is there an existing look and feel we should be following? Will we need to create all elements from scratch or will we receive assets we can use?
- Talent. Will the video need a voiceover? Are actors required?
- Location Filming. Does the project require location filming, if so, where and how many days filming are needed?
- Rights and usage. Talent and music agencies will need to know what platforms and regions you will be posting the videos. You’ll need to agree the usage rights before.
- Other marketing materials. It’s common once a TVC has been produced that other adapts are needed, whether this be cut downs, different aspect ratios or assets from the TVC to use elsewhere.
- Duration. You might love your product so much you want to make a 15min film, but we’re going to persuade you to keep it short.
- Music. If you want Kanye to do tunes for you then it’s going to hurt the wallet considerably more than if you go for a library track. Audio is super important, so don’t skimp on the sound design, either.
- Schedules. Keeping the production time down can really help to keep costs down. So if you need to get everything signed off by your boss’s sister’s cat every time you amend a graphic, it’s going to really slow things down.
How Long Does It Take to Produce a TV Commercial?
Of course it depends on how ambitious we’re being with the production and how many stakeholders there are in the process. However we pride ourselves on getting work done efficiently.
Here’s the drill:
- Fill in the brief. Yeah I know we all want to get stuck in right away, but this initial part really helps us establish your goals, mandatory CI stuff, and anything else grown up and important we need to focus on.
- Write the script and visual direction. This is the genesis of the whole film, where we get the story going. Normally we can crack it with you in a few weeks.
- Style frames, storyboarding and animatics. The bit where we knuckle down and where everyone can see the idea taking shape.
- Pre Production. Our Producers will work throughout the night to organise any talent, crews and locations. Our Art Director will be working equally hard to source and design the right environment for our location.
- Location Filming. Where the team work together to make this thing a reality.
- Edit. This is the part where we pull the main bones of the edit together so the content and flow is right.
- Motion Graphics. After the picture edit is complete we’ll add any graphic design, image treatments and animation to the video.
- Music, sound design, mix. Get your beats on and wrap it all up. This part really does bring everything together.
- Clearcast Clearance. This is where we get final clearance for the advert, fill out any forms and supply any supportive documentation.
- Delivery. We’ll deliver your television commercial to approved delivery stations with all the information they need to match your advertising budget.