Ad Spot Quote
Happy Holidays everyone!
I had an inquiry about producing an ad spot similar to this one:
I figure I can purchase royalty free stock footage shots to fill the spot. My problem is with quoting them a price without a script. How would you quote a price?
How many hours of editing?
How much for stock footage?
I gave this company a quote, and they told me that my price is almost double other prices. I don't know why.
I'm also wondering where this company Spot Runner gets their footage? They have great shots! They charge $500 per ad spot, but make up the difference in buying air time and rights management. Any advice would be apprecuated
Thanks for your help as usual.
They actually make there money by selling the exact same commercial over and over. All they do is add in the customers logo and info and redo the VO.
I know this because I once looked into, doing some side work for a place that does those cookie cutter commercials. They pay crap so I said I would not do it.
You could probably bust one of those commercials out in no time at. Look for similar clips on stock footage sites, do some adjusting to what is said slap in a logo and you are done. When I looked into it they sayd it takes most people 30 min to an hour to do one.
They get $500 because it takes 10 minutes for the VO and another ten minutes to create the text. 5 more minutes to burn a master tape and there ya go. $500 for 30 minutes of work. And then, they make a minimum of $15 from time buy rebates.
They invested in their stock footage and now they just reap the cash on the back end.
Most likely, they don't even burn a tape. They probably transmit electronically using a service.
To do this spot from scratch would probably run $10-15K shooting your own footage. These shots were probably $250 each if you were to buy them. Their copy says "See if it's available in your area" which means that they run one ad in a market. The next town has the same add with some other companies name and logo.
It's a dry heat!
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I looked at some of the demos on the Spot Runner site. Frankly, I was appalled.
Such generic writing and production doesn't seem like a good value for my TV ad dollar. These generic cookie-cutter things I think work better in the print medium.
If these spots actually work anywhere, I'd have to wonder how much MORE effective a spot would be if it was custom-written and produced locally from the ground-up.
The sample political campaign ads are unintentionally hysterical in the way they point out how "generic" campaign-related spotmaking already is.
If you want to find some intersting and useful reading on how to create good copy for spots, there are two radio-related sites that have a lot to say that's relevant to TV as well. Google Dick Orkin's (yes, he of the famous "Chickenman" spots and al those ads with Burt Burdis) Radio Ranch and Dan O'Day for some great free creative tips and lists of cliche's to avoid.
That's the thing, isn't it? Sometimes it's hard to convince lower end clients or clients who haven't done this sort of thing before that a lot of the point of doing a commercial is to stand out from everyone else. Using generic stock footage really doesn't help on that front. At the very least it crimps one's ability to create something interesting and impactful (is that a word? It's late...).
If they really think spotrunner serves their needs, then they're not the kind of client you probably want to work with. Those are also the kind of clients who use premade templates for their business cards and websites. And who wear one-size-fits-all clothing.
At the same time, I'll readily admit that about a third of the stuff we do uses stock footage to some degree. Occasionally it makes me wince a bit, but we do everything superhumanly possible to make it interesting.
But my main point is this- don't worry if they say you're twice the cost of someone else. There will always be cheaper people willing to cut corners or merely reuse the same visuals over and over. I used to get concerned about clients who'd say we were expensive when we only did websites, but over time I found that absolutely none of the bottom feeder clients ever did anything worthwhile. Most of them went out of business. We're still here. Stand your ground, unless you think you made a calculation mistake in your quote :-)
Thanks to everyone for their responses. I agree with the "cookie cutter" comments, but sometimes you just have to giive them what they want.
Let's say that you've taken this job, and have chosen 8 stock footage clips at $250 each (your cost) and you
[Greg Ball] "How long would you estimate that the editing would take? "
I doubt anyone can answer that unless one knows what exactly the client wants or what budget the client want's to stay within. I've great things done with stock footage with After Effects, Combustion, Flame, etc.
If you're just going to dissolve between stock shots, add vo and a logo/id at the end it could be 4 hours depending on the tweaks.
[Greg Ball] "How much would your charge be for this spot?"
There's not only the cost of the clips and the music but the time you spend finding them. Then there's the cost of the VO. How much is your time worth in your business model is up to you.
You don't say how much the music costs, how much the VO person costs, who's providing the script.
If you're acting as an ad agent there's the money you make on that too. If it's a BIG buy you can go cheaper on the post production side.
IMHO if the client is spending $2000 plus your markup on 8 stock shots, they'd be better off hiring someone with a good DV or HDV camera and getting something custom shot in a day or two. It may not look like 35mm film or HDCAM but at least it'll be about their business.
As I said before what the client wants is to pretty much duplicate the spot I showed from Spot runner. (see my first post) As far as time is concerned, I would think color correction and getting approvals would take additional time. I put 20 hours of editing into the proposal. I know what my time is worth, but I was hoping to see how realistic my estimate was based on what others would charge.
How would shooting 8 different people in poses with 8 different animals and also shooting a Vet in their offices be done for $2,000? How much time would that take to find the right talent? Again they specified that they wanted to spot to look exactly like the one from Spot Runner. With that in mind wouldn't it be more cost effective to buy footage?
The stock footage is not the worst problem for me. The writing is. You're right that it may not be any cheaper to shoot the same kinds of shots as what you can buy from stock. Though it might be nice to finish with one that has the vet's place in the background.
That would be a great way to keep the best of both worlds and have the economy of the stock footage with the customization we think the spot needs. Make a similar shot of pet and owner as owner scoops pet out of car and walks it into the clinic, with the signage prominent. Variation: the vet's reception area or examination room, with smiling vet and assistant ready to greet the customer and make all ga-ga over the pet and reassure the owner. If you stage that shot right you can tell that message and sell the emotional subtext in six seconds. Those six seconds could mean the difference between undistinguished cookie-cutter blah and a message that moves people.
The other thing it does is sell YOU. How long does it take a client to figure out he can buy the stock footage the same place you do and cut you out of the process? Unless you bring the ADDED VALUE of that customized shot that brings everything together to make the sale. That's a key to repeat business.
You would have to budget the time to shoot that punchline shot and shoot it in a style that matches all the stock footage. Only an hour to shoot but perhaps additional time in post to massage the footage with some filters and plug-ins. Say three hours to match the look.
I would plan to spend more hours on writing better, more targeted narration copy, and perhaps in exploring what other manipulations you could do with the stock shots to personalize and customize it more. That could be simple things like putting them in PIP boxes floating over a wallpaper of the vet's logo and name. That's been done to death too, but one can always play with better execution of a tired idea and make it fresh again.
Like my kids and their legos. They get a kit that makes one kind of robot guy they like. They can stop there, but they get bored after a while with the off the shelf stock design, then they start modifying the things, trading parts and adding non-original parts and new functions, sometimes until they are unrecognizable from the stock version. These look dumb sometimes, but more often they look wicked cool. And that's the point. Isn't it? Use stock if you want but not a stock approach to the footage. Costs a little more time, bill for it.