John Lewis got good value out of the digital assets from its 2016 Christmas campaign ©John Lewis
John Lewis got good value out of the digital assets from its 2016 Christmas campaign ©John Lewis

Top tips for buying TV production

23 February 2018

It’s a buyers’ market, an event put on by CIPS Marketing Procurement Special Knowledge Group was told

With competition hot, companies will be using expertise and price to fight for your work, said Steve Davies of the Advertising Producers Association. Follow these expert tips to get what you need:

Be wary of in-house, end-to-end production solutions, said James Bland, executive producer of Blink Productions. Agencies usually source three options from production companies. But increasingly they offer noncompetitive in-house solutions. That “might not be the best solution”, he warned. 

Cut your cloth accordingly. Do you need a cinematic Hollywood-style advert when your target demographic will be using a smartphone, asked Oliver Forder, head of business development at MPC? And when investing in talent, consider the savings if you hire an expert who may be more expensive by the hour, but who could fulfil the brief more quickly.

Make full use of your digital assets. John Lewis commissioned a set of digital assets for its 2016 Christmas ad, with virtual woodland creatures on a trampoline, said Forder. The retailer capitalised on its investment in a number of ways by using the same characters in an in-store virtual-reality experience and through a social-media campaign. MPC, which created the original assets, was able to repurpose them into the different formats.

A lower budget means fewer options, not lower quality. If the budget allows, take wide and multiple shots for more cutting options, said Rupert Reynolds-MacLean, MD of production firm Biscuit UK. If not, hone the concept before shooting. Biscuit shot a series of ads for sports betting firm Kwiff using a method that could be done fast on a single set. It involved three simple ideas and one way of making it (that everybody agreed on), he said.

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