The key considerations

Whenever I’m asked “how much does it cost to make a TV advert?” the perfect answer is “how long is a piece of string?” It’s a great analogy, but totally unhelpful. So, instead, I’ll break it down as simply as possible.

There are two main costs involved in getting a commercial on TV:

Media – the actual slots on TV your ad will run in. At thecoalshed we have some fantastic media planning and buying partners who can help and advise you on media costs and how best to target your ideal audience.

Production – the cost to make your commercial. When thinking about how much to spend on your TV ad it’s worth remembering “you get what you pay for.”

Getting the right balance

Getting the right balance between media and TV production spend is paramount. Spend too much on media but too little on your production and you risk your ad looking cheap. You may get to play the ad out on bigger and better channels but will it stand up to the high production values of the other ads in it’s space or the programmes it surrounds? Conversely, spend too much on TV production but too little on media and you’ll have a slick, glossy ad that no one gets to see.

You don’t always need a huge budget

You don’t always need a huge budget to stand out from the crowd. But at the same time there is no point trying to shoehorn a big creative idea into a small budget, it just won’t work.

Your budget will define your creative.

If the budget is limited (up to £25k) creative ideas should be kept very simple. A one day shoot in a studio or small location, with a presenter or featured artist. Alternatively a fully, simply animated ad works well at this price point.  Here’s an example of an animated commercial we developed for our friends at

With a medium weight budget (£25k – £65k) we’d still be looking at keeping things relatively simple and on a one day shoot. But there is more room for the extras that really add to the overall look and feel of your ad. A higher spec camera and lenses, a small set build or good array of props, bespoke graphics & specially composed music. These all help raise the production values of the final commercial.

With a bigger budget (£65K – £120k) we can start to look at multiple characters possibly even a (minor) celebrity to front your commercial. We can look at multiple locations and more elaborate shoots. We can consider interactive bespoke graphics and specially composed music and a specially recorded jingle to bring it all alive.  Here’s an example we developed for our friends at broadband choices:

And finally, with a budget over £120k we can really let the creativity flow on a bigger idea. Bigger budgets allow for multiple shoot days and multiple characters or larger ‘singing and dancing’ casts. They allow for special effects, travel and/or a foreign shoot, thus guaranteed sunshine. They offer the possibility of a well known musical track for that instant ‘hook’.

You get what you pay for

Finally, when considering your TV production budget, it’s worth remembering that everyone “on set” has a standard daily rate and needs to be well fed and watered. Good equipment is not cheap to hire. Everyone “in camera” needs costumes or wardrobe and make up as well as catering and transportation. Some handmade costumes are like designer clothes and come with designer price tags. Big studios can be expensive but they are usually well supplied with services thus saving time…which is money. And while having a cat or dog in your ad may be fun, they can only work for a certain amount of time and the entire shoot has to be overseen by a vet. If you think taking Tiddles for a check up is expensive, imagine how much a vet can charge for a whole day of their time!

So you really do get what you pay for.

Stand out from the crowd

If you’re a brand considering TV for the first time or an existing advertiser looking for a fresh approach, we’d love to meet with you and discuss your brief. Call us today on 020 8617 8227 or get in touch via our contact form.

Let us help you stand out from the crowd.