Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants

What is the industry benchmark cost of producing a television advertisement?

The perennial $64,000 question. Or in many cases a damned sight more. The fact of the matter is that it usually costs whatever the budget is that has been assigned by you – the client. In many instances, it costs more.

How often do you brief your agency to provide a TV concept within a given budget, only to have the estimates on the approved concept come in at 5%, 10% or even 50% higher? Or, how often do the estimates come in within a few thousand dollars of each other and within the budget? Does this really equate to the actual cost of the TV production?

The cost of the television commercial is driven by the concept itself and the marketers budget. The budget is set by the marketer based on the level of investment and the potential return like this spot for Hahn.


What drives TV production costs?

The first driver is the concept itself. There is always a minimum production cost for producing a commercial, but theoretically, there is no upper limit. Often, the agency and film company will arbitrarily continue to add enhancements, contingencies and experimentations into the process, thereby driving up the cost – if there is no set upper limit.

What drives the upper limit is your budget or at least the upper limit of what the agency believes you are prepared to pay. This will be based on either the stated budget, or in the absence of this, previous budgets for similar executions, the level of importance which you assign to the campaign, your level of experience in such matters, and a range of ‘mitigating’ circumstances.

So what’s the solution?

At the outset, set a firm budget – before you brief the agency. This should be calculated based on:

  1. The projected ROI
  2. The planned media budget for the first year or phase of the campaign
  3. The category in which you conduct your business
  4. The strategic importance of the particular task

TrinityP3 has comprehensive industry benchmarks for assisting you in setting realistic budgets based on these factors.

 Having established your budget, you should have your proposed productions cost benchmarked at the concept stage.

Once your agency has responded to the brief with the concepts you are considering for approval, but before investing any more time or money in concept research or testing, contact us and we will provide you with an independent and qualified assessment of the cost of producing one or all creative concepts.

Our quantified and qualified estimates are provided within 48 hours of receiving the creative concepts and normally cost less than 1% of your production budget – a worthwhile  investment in anyone’s language.

But more importantly, it is invaluable in ensuring you have a realistic expectation of the real production costs. It enables you to control costs without compromising the quality or integrity of the concept before final sign off, which results in an avoidance of unforeseen budget overruns once production has commenced.

In short, you know precisely what you’re up for up front and you are able to minimise any unforseen financial variations.


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    Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email:

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