The total cost for a commercial can vary greatly. In this post, we’ll walk you through the factors that may impact the cost for your commercial project.
December 13, 2022 / Creative Humans
Commercial advertising is one of the most effective methods to market your product or service. If you’ve never produced a commercial before, you may be concerned about the cost. The good news is that a successful commercial campaign does not need a high-priced celebrity pitchman or Hollywood blockbuster production values to make an impact on your target audience. In fact, a professional-looking 30 second commercial can potentially be produced for as low as $10,000.
That said, the total cost for a commercial can vary greatly. In this post, we’ll walk you through the factors that may impact the cost for your commercial project.
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The two primary factors that influence the total costs of a television commercial are production costs and airtime costs. Let’s take a closer look at each:
As with most video shoots, pre-production planning is key to controlling overall costs of a commercial. The commercial production talent you hire will help you determine how to best present your product or service visually, how to convey the quality or significance of your brand, and how the commercial can stand out to your target audience. These factors will determine the budget for your shoot:
Naturally, the more complex the concept for the commercial is, the more likely production costs will be higher. A commercial including animation or visual effects may look stunning, but it may not deliver an effective return on investment if the production’s price tag is too high or the post-production work takes too long to complete. On the other hand, a short bumper ad (typically 2-15 seconds) could be very affordable, though it may not be as effective depending on the complexity of your message.
The most common lengths for commercial spots are 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds, to get the most value out of your commercial, it can be edited into different versions in those specific lengths. Typically, a commercial spot will be delivered with different cut down lengths that can be used in multiple places. An experienced commercial director will shoot your commercial in consideration of how to best convey your message in those standard lengths. To get the most bang for your buck, ask your production company if they can produce stills and GIFs for other marketing purposes too.
After the shoot, a skilled editor will be instrumental in determining how to make a 15 or 30 second version of your commercial present your message as effectively as a 60 second version. In addition to editing, motion graphics artists can be hired to add text and other animations or special effects. Other post-production tasks may include voice overs, music, a final audio mix, and color correction. Each task can add to the total cost of your commercial.
Once your commercial is produced, it needs to be presented in some way to your target audience. One might think that with free video-sharing websites, paying to broadcast your commercial on television or to stream it on a popular website would be a thing of the past. However, tens of thousands of hours of content are uploaded to websites like YouTube every single hour, making it virtually impossible to stand out without promotion or purchasing ad spots. Because of that, the more significant costs associated with commercials is airtime.
So, how much does a 30 second commercial really cost? Here’s a quick look at the average costs for local and national TV spots:
Let’s take a look at some factors that may influence your airtime costs:
Everyone is familiar with the record-breaking prices that companies pay for Super Bowl commercials. Cost of airtime for a 30 second spot in 2020’s Super Bowl LIV ranged from $5-5.6 million. But don’t get cold feet just yet. Those extreme prices are outliers. The bottom line is that programs with higher viewership demand higher prices for ad spots.
Fewer people are watching television at extremely early hours, so commercial spots at 2:00 AM are normally inexpensive. But before going the low-cost route, you should consider when your target audience is most likely watching television. For example, daytime television commercials are typically targeted at stay-at-home parents, retired people, or young children, while prime-time commercials are often targeted at the sought-after 18-49 demographic.
Costs to advertise are far higher during national prime-time programming than during local broadcasts. In fact, those high-priced cable prime-time spots significantly skew the average cost of airtime for a 30 second commercial broadcast, which was $104.7 thousand in the United States in 2019. As mentioned above, the average costs for a 30-second ad spot on local TV, however, can be just $5-$10 per 1,000 impressions (CPM). Advertising on popular streaming services average around $10 CPM (YouTube) to $30 CPM (Hulu).
A national ad campaign would not be the best way to spend your advertising budget if your product or service is not a nationwide brand. There are 210 media markets in the United States that are ranked by the percentage of the U.S. population they reach. Each market has local affiliates of major broadcast channels, and many also have additional stations that feature local programming. When advertising online, you can also usually select your reach--national, local, or geo-targeted. This gives you many options of where you can advertise based on the geographic location of your customers.
There are typically eight minutes of commercials during a half-hour television program. Depending on the length of commercial spots and how many in-house commercials the station is airing, availability for advertising during certain programs may be limited. That’s why commercial spots during popular programs are more coveted by advertisers and, as a result, is why those spots are more expensive.
Rates also vary by season, with television advertising costing more during the holiday season than during other times of the year.
Paying top-dollar to broadcast your commercial to the biggest audience isn't as effective as broadcasting to your target audience. It’s important to consider your target audience compared to the demographics of the programs that you would purchase commercial airtime for.
If you provide a localized product or service, you may be able to purchase commercial time on a local station for low rates and make a strong impact on your community. Alternately, if you’re attempting to target a younger demographic, you should consider advertising on a streaming platform like Roku or Hulu to reach tech-savvy cable cord-cutters.
If your brand has an established social media presence, you can also market your commercial to your target audience through those channels. This can provide additional low-cost reach for your ad, though you should explore options like paid advertising on Facebook or Twitter to amplify your commercial if you determine it would be a good way to reach your target audience. If you have yet to establish your brand on social media, a paid ad campaign could help to build your presence.
Ready to produce a successful commercial? Browse the Creative Humans directory to discover top commercial production studios and freelancers! Creative Humans is full of highly vetted video professionals, from large production companies to freelancers. We look for talented people who have a ton of experience working with brands and agencies. Our goal is to help you make better video, by introducing you to the right filmmakers for your project. Get started for free today!
9 Company History Video Examples from Creative Humans
To build brand awareness, encourage customer loyalty, and establish brand culture, it’s important for companies to establish familiarity and trust with their core audience. One of the ways brands are able to do this is by detailing their stories and company histories through effective video marketing campaigns.
Company history videos allow you to tell viewers the story behind your brand. They tell audiences how your business began, where it started, what it has accomplished, and how it provides value to customers. To help you get inspiration for your project, here are nine great company history video examples from the professionals at Creative Humans.
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Day Rate: $800 - $15,000
Director, Creator ID: DIR7707CS
What comes to mind when you think of Tyson? Most people tend to think of frozen grocery store chicken nuggets and similar products. To dispel this notion, Tyson created this company history video that focuses on highlighting the many different uses of its products, from fine dining to a wide variety of grocery store products that many consumers wouldn’t recognize as Tyson.
Production Budget: $10,000 - $20,000
Production Company, Creator ID: PRO5352NF
Rather than creating a video aimed at consumers, Ralph Lauren wanted to create a video to instill in its employees an appreciation for the way that Ralph Lauren sees New York City. This 60-second video focuses on capturing small, hidden moments throughout the city that highlight NYC’s unique cultural qualities.
Day Rate: $1,500 - $3,500
Cinematographer, Creator ID: CIN7693LH
This corporate history video by CVS aims to explain the company’s new focus on its health food and beauty strategy and how the company is counting on employees to successfully carry out this strategy.
The video concisely explains core components of this strategy, like creating sections in stores that are dedicated solely to health foods. The video hammers the message home that CVS is relying on employees to play an important role in this new business initiative.
Production Budget: $30,000 - $45,000
Creative Agency, Creator ID: CRE7760TL
HP commissioned this trade show ad web video for its annual customer conference. This short, one-minute video focuses on the major role work plays in our lives with an emphasis on modern workflows and collaboration. With this in mind, HP goes on to explain how its products improve collaboration and how the company’s focus on innovation allows them to remain at the forefront of modern workplace technologies.
Production Budget: $30,000 - $40,000
Animation Studio, Creator ID: ANI7842AH
One of Patagonia’s key corporate values is #NBBC, or ‘Not Bound By Convention.’ Patagonia employees and brand reps are encouraged to ensure customers have a great experience, even if it means breaking or bending the rules.
To demonstrate this, Patagonia commissioned this video, which tells stories from employees in the form of an animated documentary. The audio comes from recorded employee interviews, and the visuals include hand-drawn animations over backgrounds made of Patagonia fabrics.
Production Budget: $30,000 - $50,000
Production Company, Creator ID: PRO280RM
To highlight Wells Fargo’s partnerships with young mission-driven brands and companies, the company produced a six-part video campaign with each video focusing on a different partnership.
This video focuses on Wells Fargo’s partnership with Clutter to demonstrate to viewers how the banking company is able to help young companies grow through innovative services and banking technologies.
Production Budget: $8,000 - $10,000
Production Company, Creator ID: PRO7714EB
5G technology presents a number of exciting new opportunities for tech companies like Nokia. This company history video highlights these opportunities as they were discussed at the “Converge 2018” conference held by Nokia Bell Labs.
Through a collection of on-stage presentations and one-on-one interviews, this video effectively paints a picture of what the future might hold for companies like Nokia as they are able to take advantage of 5G and Industry 4.0.
Day Rate: $800 - $15,000
Director, Creator ID: DIR7707CS
Zurich Insurance commissioned this corporate video, which involved recording interviews and shooting footage in several locations around the world, to highlight how the development of green spaces can positively impact the world.
This video demonstrates the importance of green spaces by appealing to the human compulsion to help others and bring value to the communities around them. Finally, it closes with an effective tagline that appeals to the viewers’ emotions: “Zurich Insurance. For those who truly love.”
Day Rate: $650 - $800
Motion Graphic Designer, Creator ID: MOT7657ES
SolarisBank is a fin-tech company based in Berlin. Unlike similar companies, it has a German banking license built into its platform. To highlight the qualities that set SolarisBank apart from its competition, this two-minute company history video goes over all the unique ways the company is able to provide value to both consumers and companies through modern banking and financial services.
Company history videos serve as an incredibly effective tool to build brand awareness, encourage customer loyalty, shape company culture, and establish trust between brands and their audiences. By partnering with a professional production company, you can create an impactful corporate video that effectively tells your brand’s story and history.
How to Shoot Cinematic Video with iPhone
With renowned directors like Steven Soderbergh now using iPhones to shoot feature length films, it should be no surprise that the modern smartphone is an incredible tool for shooting video. Even if you don’t need or want to use your phone to shoot your next short or feature, having it on hand for use as a B or C camera can transform a final edit. Here’s how to shoot cinematic video with iPhone in 10 easy tips!
Hidden away in your iPhone’s camera settings are various options for video, namely resolution and frame rate. If you want to shoot cinematic video with your iPhone, you will want to make sure you have 4K selected, since this will capture the greatest detail and hold up on the latest displays.
Next you should pick a frame rate. If you are one the lucky owners of a flagship iPhone X, you will see an option for 24, 30, and 60 fps. If you are shooting a movie, we recommend 24 fps for that classic look. For YouTube or television, feel free to use 30 fps. Avoid 60 fps unless you need to capture some sweet slow-mo.
Depending on your phone model, you may or may not have life-saving optical image stabilization. However, even with IS built-in you will see a bit of shake if you attempt to shoot longer takes handheld. This is where stabilizers like DJI’s Osmo Mobile 2 (B&H) work wonders. They will smooth out tracking shots with ease and are seriously impressive, transforming unusable takes into cinematic masterpieces.
Creating the shot you visualized in your head last night isn’t just luck, it requires taking control of all the tools at your disposal. To do this on an iPhone, you will have to download a dedicated app that gives you manual controls to the all-important ISO, shutter speed, and focus settings of your iPhone’s camera. My personal preference is for the simple Manual app since it works very well and has a clean design. For high-end filmmaking, I would definitely go with FiLMiC Pro, one of the best apps for recording videos ever made. It opens up a ton of settings, including higher bit rates and a log gamma option.
The hallmark of amateur video is poor audio and bad sound can quickly make a video unwatchable. If you want to make a cinematic video on iPhone, this is easily fixed by simply attaching a microphone to your setup. I would recommend a Rode smartLav+ (B&H | Amazon) for interviews and vlogging-style videos or a Rode VideoMic Me (B&H | Amazon) for run-and-gun shooting, though if you are looking to capture ambient sound or want something with some more versatility you should look at Rode’s iXY Module (B&H | Amazon) for stereo sound on par with standalone recorders.
Handheld shooting has come into vogue in the past decade, partially because it is so easy to capture steady handheld video these days. But we can’t forget about using the staple tripod in your video-shooting kit. Having a nice steady shot can change the look and tone of a film, and the precise movements of a fluid head will certainly up your game when it comes to pro-looking footage. Also, tripods tend to slow you down in a good way, requiring deliberate movements that will help you figure out the best way to frame the scene. To use a full-size tripod, you will need to pick up an adapter like this one from Joby (B&H | Amazon), or just go for the GorillaPod (B&H | Amazon) for something that will let you mount your iPhone almost anywhere (perfect for setting up a B camera).