TV Production: Paying for “flavour-of-the-month” or the best solution?

There is a fashionable element to advertising and creativity. Reading the zeitgeist of the market place and tapping into this can be an extremely valuable attribute in driving the brand perception.

In television production, this can influence the choice of production technique (Remember all those 3D CGI animated executions?), the location (When everything seemed to have a Parisian feel?) or even the choice of director…

The issue is when is this choice truly the best solution and when is it simply flavour-of-the-month? Because the answer to this can have a huge impact on the value delivered.


Because flavour of the month means the choice is hot and so are the rates. But will the result justify the premium rate?

And as they say, “When you see the band wagon, it means you have missed it” and could be simply paying for what ends up a me-too solution.

We often are asked by advertisers to review their production costs. But we do not look at the costs alone. We also consider the risks and rewards and the alternatives that may or may not have been considered.

Here are five things to consider when faced with this situation:

1. Is this solution strategically relevant to the brand and the brief?

Just because it is the hot / FOTM does not mean it is right for the brand or answers the brief. Consideration of the audience, tone of voice, personality are all obvious and important considerations.

2. Does the recommended solution provide significant cut-through in a relevant and meaningful way?

Being different for the sake of different is not always the best strategy. Being different, standing out, grabbing attention in a way that is totally meaningful and relevant is better, but usually harder to achieve.

3. What are the risks balanced with the rewards of taking this direction?

Realistically discuss the risks of the production direction and then balance these with the rewards. What are the worse-case-scenarios and how can these be minimised and how do they stack up to the benefits. It is always easier discussing benefits, but taking some time to consider the risks is essential.

4. What are the other options (there are always options) and what are the risks and benefits of these?

Celebrities, locations, production techniques and more – there are always options. But often people get attached to the concept and their first view of how to produce it. Often looking at alternatives can reveal opportunities that were previously not considered. But of course every option comes with its own risks and rewards that need to be considered.

5. Is this the best use of the budget?

The bottom line is the budget. Is it within budget? If not, is the extra expense going to deliver greater returns? If it is within budget, is it the best use of the budget? These are important considerations when reviewing production recommendations. Often the solution is presented before the costs in which case the decision to proceed should only be made once the cost implications are provided.